Newswise — BUFFALO, N.Y. — More than 30 research teams from Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) were invited to present findings at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2014, to be held April 5-9, 2014, at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, Calif. They’ll share these findings with more than 18,000 researchers, oncology professionals and patient advocates who will attend the prestigious meeting.

Among the highlights of this year’s presentations from RPCI researchers are studies on personalized medicine, the role of both vegetable intake and vitamin D status in breast cancer, and the reporting of mortality after blood and marrow transplants.

“The AACR 2014 abstracts from Roswell Park researchers represent fresh perspectives on some nagging challenges, and across a diverse range of oncologic topics,” says RPCI Deputy Director Candace Johnson, PhD. “We’re really covering the gamut from prevention to targeted therapies to outcomes reporting.”

Details from these highlighted abstracts follow below, with presentation times and locations noted.

Li Tang, an assistant member in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, is first author on “Racial differences in the association of cruciferous vegetable intake with breast cancer hormone receptor status and tumor subtype” (abstract 1266), to be presented Monday, April 7, from 8 a.m. to noon in Hall A-E, Poster Section 12. The study was a collaborative effort that involved researchers from Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Columbia University Medical Center and the University of California at San Francisco.

Cruciferous vegetables contain chemopreventive phytochemicals that have been shown in preclinical studies to suppress estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) and breast cancer development. While the relationship between cruciferous vegetable intake and breast cancer subtypes is unknown, past studies have highlighted differences in dietary habits and metabolism of phytochemicals among people of different races/ethnicities. The authors evaluated the association of cruciferous vegetable intake with breast cancer hormone receptors and subtypes by race. Their findings revealed that this association varied by race/ethnicity and by specific vegetables. For instance, coleslaw intake was linked to reduced odds of PR-negative disease in Asians, while greens intake was linked to increased odds of PR-negative disease in whites. Most of the significant associations were restricted to Asians, consistent with the finding that total cruciferous vegetable intake was highest in Asians. No associations were found in Hispanics and African-Americans. The authors suggest that the differences observed may be due to diverse genetic background among racial groups and to specific phytochemicals in cruciferous vegetables.

The research was supported in part by National Cancer Institute (NCI) grants K07CA148888 and R01CA105274.

Mark D. Long, a pre-doctoral trainee in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, is first author on “An integrative genomic pipeline to target the NCOR1 cistrome with precision” (abstract 4186), to be presented by one of the co-authors, Moray J. Campbell, PhD, an Associate Member of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, on Tuesday, April 8, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Hall A-E, Poster Section 15.

Long and colleagues are interested in targeting the co-repressor protein NCOR1, which plays a role in regulating transcription factors and is mutated in many major cancers. In an effort to explore the characteristics of this protein and its potential as a drug target, the authors reviewed publicly available data from the ENCODE, GEO and NCI60 databases. Their findings suggest a surprising association of NCOR1 cancer-related functions with sustained expression of genes that correlate with sensitivity to clinically approved HDAC inhibitors in chronic myelogenous leukemia cells and patients. The authors also concluded that this integrative genomic pipeline is applicable to other DNA-binding or epigenetic molecules in drug-redeployment and personalized medicine strategies.

Song Yao, PhD, an Assistant Member in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, is first author on “The association of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D with breast cancer characteristics and prognosis in the Pathways Study” (abstract 4126), to be presented Tuesday, April 8, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Hall A-E, Poster Section 11. The study is a collaborative effort that involved researchers from the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

The current evidence of the protective role of vitamin D against breast cancer from epidemiologic studies is inconsistent. Yao and colleagues previously showed that premenopausal women with triple-negative breast cancer had the lowest levels of serum 25-hydyroxyvitamin D (25OHD). In this study, they set out to further validate the findings and examine the association of 25OHD levels with breast cancer prognosis. The results from this large cohort of breast cancer patients (n=1664) not only validated their previous findings, but also suggest that high 25OHD levels at diagnosis were linked to prolonged survival, regardless of cancer characteristics and treatment, and are likely to be more pronounced in premenopausal women. The authors concluded that their observations support the potential benefits of maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels for better breast cancer prognosis.

The research was supported in part by National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant R01CA105274.

Lara Sucheston-Campbell, PhD, an Assistant Member in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control, is presenting author on “Adjudicating complex phenotypes for use in GWAS: A study of transplant-related mortality (TRM) after unrelated donor hematopoietic cell transplantation (URD-HCT)” (abstract 5079), to be presented Wednesday, April 9, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon in Hall A-E, Poster Section 13. The study was a collaborative effort that involved researchers from the University of Chicago, the Center for International Bone Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR), the University of Southern California, the National Marrow Donor Program and the University at Buffalo.

Dr. Sucheston-Campbell is a co-Principal Investigator, along with co-author Theresa Hahn, PhD, of a National Institutes of Health-funded grant to study genetic associations with transplant-related mortality (TRM) after unrelated donor blood or marrow transplantation for blood cancers. As the first step in their genome-wide association study (GWAS), they formed a consensus adjudication panel to review 1,504 deaths reported to the CIBMTR by 151 U.S. transplant centers from 2000-11. They found that, overall, the panel agreed with the cause of death reported by the transplant center about 80% of the time; however, there were striking differences between the consensus panel and what was reported by the centers in the specific causes of death. Misclassifying disease-related deaths as TRM leads to underestimation of the effect of genetics on TRM and potentially overestimates the effect on death due to disease. Consensus panels are a worthwhile part of genomic studies of complex multifactorial phenotypes, the authors note, with the potential to reduce under- and over-reporting of genetic associations with disease.

The research was supported in part by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) grant R01HL102278.


The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, RPCI is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email [email protected] Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

Editor’s note: To arrange an interview with RPCI presenters and expert sources, please contact Annie Deck-Miller at [email protected], mobile 716-602-5817, or Tara Yates, who will be onsite at the meeting, at [email protected], mobile 716-961-8367.