Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

School of Public Health

First Advisor

Yong Zhu

Second Advisor

Shuangge Ma

Abstract

A search of the cancer literature reveals the strong association between long-term nighttime shiftwork and increased risk of breast cancer in female workers. Since 2007, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has categorized shiftwork as "probably carcinogenic to humans", a Group 2A carcinogen1. Evidence from epigenetic studies shows that differential methylation of genes is one possible mechanism by which long-term shiftwork disrupts the expression patterns of the genes responsible for maintaining a cancer free status.

This study builds upon the work initiated by Zhu et al and investigates the association between shiftwork dependent methylation of the NBR2-BRAC1 promoter region and the risk of breast cancer in female nighttime shift workers. Understanding the effects of methylation in the NBR2-BRAC1 region is important because these genes share a bi-directional promoter that sits within a large CpG island. Unraveling the significance of methylation in this region will provide a deeper understanding of the epigenetic factors that promote breast cancer in female long-term nighttime shift workers and possibly reveal a biomarker of clinical significance.

Comments

This is an Open Access Thesis.

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