It is well documented that African-American (AA) patients present with more advanced states of breast cancer and have lower survival rates than Caucasian-Americans (CA). Epidemiological data have shown that pregnancy and lactation at an early age in humans reduce the risk of breast cancer. Studies in mice and rats have shown that lactation stimulates the expression of intracellular fatty-acid binding protein 3 (FABP3). FABP3 is detected in human breast tissue and is known as mammary-derived growth inhibitor (MDGI) because it has a strong inhibitory effect on cell proliferation. FABP5 is also expressed in the breast, and has been associated with metastasis and angiogenesis. Thus we hypothesized that increased expression of FABP3 and decreased expression of FABP5 in the normal breast would be associated with protection against carcinogenesis, and that these changes would be regulated by prolactin (PRL) and IGF-II, which are major mediators of breast differentiation. We also hypothesized that differential expression of these FABPs could provide insight into the breast cancer health disparity, particularly since AA women have lower lactation rates relative to CA women. Therefore, we assessed the expression of these FABPs in paired normal/tumor breast cancer tissues from AA and CA, and used AA and CA-derived cell lines to characterize potential regulatory mechanisms involving PRL and IGF-II. Our studies have provided much needed information about the mechanisms involved in the protective effect lactation induces in the breast, and potentially offer new tools to prevent breast cancer.

LLU Discipline



Basic Sciences


School of Medicine

First Advisor

De Leon, Daisy D.

Second Advisor

Brantley, Eileen

Third Advisor

Casiano, Carlos

Fourth Advisor

De Leon, Marino

Fifth Advisor

Strong, Donna

Sixth Advisor

Walker, Ameae

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded

January 2013

Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Protein Binding; Fatty Acids; Breast Neoplasms; African-Americans; Lactation; Cancer - Patients; Survivors; Cancer Breast Feeding;

Subject - Local

Breast Cancer; African American Women; Cancer Survival Rates; FABP3; FABP5; Fatty-Acid Binding Proteins; Lactation - Protective Effects



Page Count

90 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives