The hypothesis that magnetic fields influence breast cancer risk is based on the existence of a plausible mechanism related to the effect of magnetic fields on melatonin along with some limited epidemiologic data. The study has two following specific goals. 1. To determine if residential exposure to magnetic fields, as assessed by wiring configuration coding and direct measurements is associated with the risk of breast cancer. 2. A secondary hypothesis is that particular combinations of the alternating current (AC) magnetic field and the direct current (DC) magnetic field, increase the risk of breast cancer. This hypothesis was prompted by observations of biologic effects at particular combinations of the AC and DC fields in several experimental systems. The study is a case-control study nested within a cohort study of risk factors for breast and other cancers among approximately 54,000 African-American and Latino women in Los Angeles County. A technician visits each case and control to make measurements and administer an interview on residential history and sources of exposure to magnetic fields and light at night, an effector of melatonin. All cases of breast cancer diagnosed over the 5 year study period are being enrolled -- we estimate 400-500 cases. An equal number of controls are being enrolled. We have completed enrollment on over 300 cases and 300 controls and we will continue enrollment until Sept 1999. We have begun the analysis of the magnetic field data. We will be able to use our questionnaire data to examine the association between factors that influence melatonin homeostatis - shift work and light exposure - and breast cancer risk.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Intramural Research (Z01)
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