Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Public Health

First Advisor

Yong Zhu

Second Advisor

Shuangge Ma


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.


This is an Open Access Thesis.

Open Access

This Article is Open Access