Student Cancer Research

Student’s Cancer Research Makes Headlines

Jasmine Lew

Jasmine Lew

Fourth-year student Jasmine Lew is the first author on a recent study that suggests excessive alcohol consumption can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer. After completing her third year, Jasmine was accepted the Howard Hughes Medical Institute-National Institutes of Health Research Scholar Program to spend the 2007–2008 academic year conducting research at the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. Her research has been making headlines in news outlets across the country.

Throughout the past year spent at the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Jasmine and her research colleagues reviewed data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, which began in 1995. They then analyzed more than 184,000 postmenopausal women, and ultimately learned that alcohol inhibits the body's ability to metabolize estrogen. Since more than 70 percent of breast cancer tumors are classified as positive for both the estrogen and progesterone receptors, the difficulty in metabolizing estrogen increases a woman'’s risk of developing a tumor.

Of their research, Jasmine notes, "This suggests that a woman should evaluate consumption of alcohol along with other known breast cancer risk factors, such as use of hormone replacement therapy."

The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 2008 Annual Meeting in San Diego in April.