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Training Years: 2018-2019

Training Site: UNC Project -Malawi / Kamuzu Central Hospital

Country: Malawi

Mentors: Kathryn Trotter, PhD; Satish Gopal, MD, MPH

Title: Breast Cancer and HIV in Malawian Women

Project Objectives: To determine molecular subtype, we will perform IHC experiments with widely-used and validated antibodies targeting human ERBB2 (HER2), progesterone receptor (PR), estrogen receptor (ER), and the proliferative marker, Ki67, closely following NIH-suggested ASCO recommendations15; 16. Tumor samples will be classified as luminal-A, luminal-B, HER2-negative, Luminal-B-like HER2 positive, HER2-enriched or triple negative molecular based on receptor and Ki67 findings

Aim 1: Determine whether breast cancer molecular subtypes, as assigned by detailed immunophenotyping, differ by HIV status in Malawian women.

Hypothesis 2: Due the critical function of the immune system in tumorigenesis and initiation, we hypothesize that women with breast cancer and HIV will present to the clinic at a younger age compared to women who are HIV-negative and that this will occur more frequently in women of more aggressive molecular subtypes, such as HER2-enriched and triple negative. If HIV status does not correlate with a particular subtype, this may be due to low sample size and patterns may emerge as our cohort expands, or because HIV molecularly does not directly impact protein expression in breast cancer tissue.

Aim 2: Determine whether HIV status impacts breast cancer clinical presentation and outcomes.

NIH Support: Fogarty fellowship postdoctoral training award

Victoria Youngblood Headshot