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Identify Novel Biological Markers of Breast Cancer Risk Related to Environmental Chemical Exposures

To investigate upstream biomarkers of breast cancer risk and identify novel biomarkers of previous exposure to chemicals known or suspected to contribute breast cancer.

As part of our program-directed initiatives, CBCRP intends to fund up to three projects related to the identification of novel biomarkers of chemical exposure.  

Biomarkers have been developed and used in clinical settings to manage the treatment of breast cancer patients for years; however, comparable tools to guide breast cancer prevention have lagged. In addition, research into breast cancer biomarkers has thus far not considered exposure to environmental chemicals as a target.  

Download the full RFP below.

Full Request for Proposal (pdf)

Application materials are available on proposalCENTRAL.

An informational webinar for this funding opportunity was held on February 24, 2016.  The archived webinar is available here:


Up to three projects will be awarded to pursue innovative approaches using tissue culture, animal models, or human samples to identify and characterize novel biomarkers of breast cancer susceptibility or risk that have the potential to identify individuals (or communities) with high risk and inform intervention strategies to lower risks.

The initiative aims are to:

  1. enhance our understanding of the changes in biological pathways in response to chemical exposures that decrease or increase risk of developing breast cancer, and
  2. identify and characterize biomarkers of risk of developing breast cancer related to exposures to environmental chemicals that may be used to differentiate high and low‐risk women and allow us to target and evaluate prevention strategies.

Project guidelines

  1. Projects must focus primarily on markers of risk from chemical exposures relevant to breast cancer

  2. Biomarkers of interest include measures of DNA methylation, gene expression, receptor/hormone levels and activity, metabolomics and other indicators of biological change along the pathway from health to breast cancer.

  3. Research should exclude clinical biomarkers used for tumor characterization, prognosis, disease progression and treatment decisions, unless there is strong scientific support that the candidate marker could also be used as a risk indicator for prevention.

  4. Projects that use cell-based and animal toxicology studies should address the relevance to humans and include methods to demonstrate relevance, if needed.

  5. Projects are encouraged to include transdisciplinary research collaboration and must include collaboration with advocates and community stakeholders. CBCRP staff members are available to advise applicants about community collaborations.

Project duration and budget caps

CBCRP intends to fund up to three projects for up to $1,000,000 each for up to four years.