Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP) logo

The Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP) is a group of breast cancer-related scientific studies begun in 2003 that are funded by the National Institute of Environmental Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The BCERP is a transdisciplinary program, meaning that the studies are conducted by teams of laboratory based scientists, epidemiologists, social scientists, and clinicians with various specialties and from different perspectives. The main research efforts are the Windows of Susceptibility Studies.

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In 2009, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) issued joint solicitations to support cooperative agreements to form the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP). The consortium continued its study on the existing female cohort through maturation and addressed additional potential influences on breast cancer risk factors in the population. The program also expanded to include exploration of basic science and, at limited levels, epidemiological and clinical research on gene-environment interactions throughout the female lifespan that may alter the risk for breast cancer. The program also built upon its groundbreaking outreach and translation activities and includes voices of the engaged breast cancer community at multiple levels in dissemination, research, and guidance of the program.

The program was renewed with a request for applications (RFA) in 2015. The BCERP is among a select few NIH projects supporting transdisciplinary research on the interaction of chemical, physical, biological, and social environmental factors with genetic factors within windows of susceptibility throughout a woman’s lifespan. The Coordinating Center will play an integral role in the performance and direction of this program and will require a unique set of scientific and administrative skills. This RFA is part of a renewal of the cooperative NIEHS/NCI program into the basis and mechanisms of genes and environment in breast cancer. All of the research projects, community partners, and Coordinating Center are expected to perform as a transdisciplinary/ multidisciplinary network.


2021           15th Annual Meeting – Breast Cancer Outreach & Advocacy Efforts: A Legacy Still in Action

For over two decades, advocates and researchers have partnered to translate critical findings on breast cancer prevention to the public and policymakers. During a public session held virtually during the 15th Annual BCERP Meeting, breast cancer advocates and researchers discussed their “lessons learned” and the path forward.


2019            14th Annual Meeting– Bringing Precision to the Future of Environmental Breast Cancer Research

This annual BCERP conference incorporates the complementary perspectives of basic science, population science and community engagement with a focus on empowering individuals and tackling the hurdles that remain.

Annual Meeting Program Booklet
Keynote Address
Breast Cancer Survivors Lend Their Voices


2018            13th Annual Meeting– Understanding the Link between the Environment and Breast Cancer

The meeting featured informative sessions on risk reduction of breast cancer, professional development seminars on environmental health research opportunities and training opportunities, a research poster session, and a community forum. This meeting was hosted by Georgetown University.

Annual Meeting Program Booklet

2017            12th Annual Meeting – Translating Research into Actions to Reduce Breast Cancer

The meeting featured informative sessions on risk reduction of breast cancer, a professional development seminar on working with advocates to improve research, a research poster session, and a community forum. This meeting was hosted by City of Hope.

Meeting Agenda
Keynote Address

Publications: A-F


Aupperlee MD, Kariagina A, Zaremba N, Basson MD, Schwartz RC, Haslam SZ. The Proliferative Response to p27 Down-Regulation in Estrogen Plus Progestin Hormonal Therapy is Lost in Breast Tumors. Transl Oncol. 2018 Apr;1 1(2):518-527. doi: 10.1016/j.tranon.2018.02.011. View Lay Summary


Binder AM, Corvalan C, Mericq V, Pereira A, Santos JL, Horvath S, Shepherd J, Michels KB. Faster ticking rate of the epigenetic clock is associated with faster pubertal development in girls. Epigenetics. 2018;13(1):85-94. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2017.1414127. View Lay Summary

Binder AM, Corvalan C, Pereira A, Calafat AM, Ye X, Shepherd J, Michels KB. Prepubertal and Pubertal Endocrine-Disrupting Chemical Exposure and Breast Density among Chilean Adolescents. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2018 Dec;27(12):1491-1499. View Lay Summary

Binder AM, Stiemsma LT, Keller K, van Otterdijk SD, Mericq V, Pereira A, Santos JL, Shepherd J, Michels KB. Inverse association between estrogen receptor-α DNA methylation and breast composition in adolescent Chilean girls. Clin Epigenetics. 2018 Oct 4;10(1):122. doi: 10.1186/s13148-018-0553-5. View Lay Summary


Fassler CS, Gutmark-Little I, Xie C, Giannini CM, Chandler DW, Biro FM, Pinney SM. Sex hormone phenotypes in young girls and the age at pubertal milestones. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Aug 13. pii: jc.2019-00889. doi: 10.1210/jc.2019-00889. [Epub ahead of print] View Lay Summary

Fassler CS, Pinney SE, Xie C, Biro FM, Pinney SM. Complex relationships between perfluorooctanoate, body mass index, insulin resistance and serum lipids in young girls. Environ Res. 2019 Sep;176:108558. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.108558. Epub 2019 Jun 26. View Lay Summary

Publications: G-K


Gregory KJ, Roberts AL, Conlon EM, Mayfield JA, Hagen MJ, Crisi GM, Bentley BA, Kane JJ, Makari-Judson G, Mason HS, Yu J, Zhu LJ, Simin K, Johnson JPS, Khan A, Schneider BR, Schneider SS, Jerry DJ. Gene expression signature of atypical breast hyperplasia and regulation by SFRP1. Breast Cancer Res. 2019 Jun 27;21(1):76. doi: 10.1186/s13058-019-1157-5. View Lay Summary


Hiatt RA, Brody JG. Environmental Determinants of Breast Cancer. Annu Rev Public Health. 2018 Apr 1;39:113-133. doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-040617-014101. Epub 2018 Jan 12. View Lay Summary

Hitt R, Perrault E, Smith S, Keating DM, Nazione S, Silk K, Russell J. Scientific Message Translation and the Heuristic Systematic Model: Insights for Designing Educational Messages About Progesterone and Breast Cancer Risks. Journal of cancer education : the official journal of the American Association for Cancer Education. 2016;31(2):389-396. doi:10.1007/s13187-015-0835-y. View Lay Summary


Jerry DJ, Shull JD, Hadsell DL, Rijnkels M, Dunphy KA, Schneider SS, Vandenberg LN, Majhi PD, Byrne C, Trentham-Dietz A. Genetic variation in sensitivity to estrogens and breast cancer risk. Mamm Genome. 2018 Feb;29(1-2):24-37. doi: 10.1007/s00335-018-9741-z. View Lay Summary


Kanaya N, Bernal L, Chang G, Yamamoto T, Nguyen D, Wang YZ, Park JS, Warden C, Wang J, Wu X, Synold T, Rakoff M, Neuhausen SL, Chen S. Molecular Mechanisms of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (BDE-47, BDE-100, and BDE-153) in Human Breast Cancer Cells and Patient-Derived Xenografts. Toxicol Sci. 2019 Jun 1;169(2):380-398. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfz054. View Lay Summary

Kanaya N, Chang G, Wu X, Saeki K, Bernal L, Shim HJ, Wang J, Warden C, Yamamoto T, Li J, Park JS, Synold T, Vonderfecht S, Rakoff M, Neuhausen SL, Chen S. Single-cell RNA-sequencing analysis of estrogen- and endocrine-disrupting chemical-induced reorganization of mouse mammary gland. Commun Biol. 2019 Nov 5;2:406. doi: 10.1038/s42003-019-0618-9. eCollection 2019. View Lay Summary

Kulkarni S, Lewis K, Adams SA, Brandt HM, Lead JR, Ureda JR, Fedrick D, Mathews C, Friedman DB. A Comprehensive Analysis of How Environmental Risks of Breast Cancer are Portrayed on the Internet. Am J Health Educ. 2018;49(4):222-233. doi: 10.1080/19325037.2018.1473182. View Lay Summary

Publications: L-P


LaPlante CD, Bansal R, Dunphy KA, Jerry DJ, Vandenberg LN. Oxybenzone Alters Mammary Gland Morphology in Mice Exposed During Pregnancy and Lactation. J Endocr Soc. 2018 May 22;2(8):903-921. doi: 10.1210/js.2018-00024. eCollection 2018 Aug 1. View Lay Summary

Lewis K, Kulkarni S, Adams SA, Brandt HM, Lead JR, Ureda JR, Fedrick D, Mathews C, Friedman DB. “For lack of knowledge, our people will perish”: Using focus group methodology to explore African-American communities’ perceptions of breast cancer and the environment. Environ Int. 2018 Dec;121(Pt 1):111-118. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2018.08.062. View Lay Summary

Lynch C, Zhao J, Huang R, Kanaya N, Bernal L, Hsieh JH, Auerbach SS, Witt KL, Merrick BA, Chen S, Teng CT, Xia M. Identification of Estrogen-Related Receptor α Agonists in the Tox21 Compound Library. Endocrinology. 2018 Feb 1;159(2):744-753. doi: 10.1210/en.2017-00658. View Lay Summary


Matouskova K, Jerry DJ, Vandenberg LN. Exposure to Low Doses of Oxybenzone During Perinatal Development Alters Mammary Gland Morphology in Male and Female Mice. Reprod Toxicol. 2019 Aug 10. pii: S0890-6238(19)30012-7. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2019.08.002. View Lay Summary


Ohayon JL, Nost E, Silk K, Rakoff M, Brody JG. Barriers and opportunities for breast cancer organizations to focus on environmental health and disease prevention: a mixed-methods approach using website analyses, interviews, and focus groups. Environ Health. 2020 Feb 10;19(1):15. doi: 10.1186/s12940-020-0570-7. View Lay Summary

Ohayon JL, Cousins E, Brown P, Morello-Frosch R, Brody JG. Researcher and institutional review board perspectives on the benefits and challenges of reporting back biomonitoring and environmental exposure results. Environmental Research. 2017 Feb; 153: 140-149. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2016.12.003. PMID: 27960129   View Lay Summary


Parodi DA, Greenfield M, Evans C, Chichura A, Alpaugh A, Williams J, Cyrus KC, Martin MB. Alteration of Mammary Gland Development and Gene Expression by In Utero Exposure to Cadmium. Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Sep 9;18(9). pii: E1939. doi: 10.3390/ijms18091939. View Lay Summary

Pokharel A, Kolla S, Matouskova K, Vandenberg LN. Asymmetric development of the male mouse mammary gland and its response to a prenatal or postnatal estrogen challenge.  Reprod Toxicol. 2018 Dec;82:63-71. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2018.10.003. Epub 2018 Oct 11. View Lay Summary

Publications: Q-Z


Rusiecki JA, Denic-Roberts H, Byrne C, Cash J, Raines CF, Brinton LA, Zahm SH, Mason T, Bonner MR, Blair A, Hoover R. Serum concentrations of DDE, PCBs, and other persistent organic pollutants and mammographic breast density in Triana, Alabama, a highly exposed population. Environ Res. 2019 Dec 26;182:109068. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.109068. [Epub ahead of print] View Lay Summary


Sahay D, Terr MB, Miller R. Is breast cancer a result of epigenetic responses to traffic-related air pollution? A review of the latest evidence. Epigenomics. 2019 May 9. doi: 10.2217/epi-2018-0158. View Lay Summary

Schneider SS, Henchey EM, Sultana N, Morin SM, Jerry DJ, Makari-Judson G, Crisi GM, Arenas RB, Johnson M, Mason HS, Yadava N. Individual‐specific variation in the respiratory activities of HMECs and their bioenergetic response to IGF1 and TNFα. Journal of Cellular Physiology. 2017;232(10):2750-2765. doi:10.1002/jcp.25932. PMID: 28369883  View Lay Summary

Shull JD, Dennison KL, Chack AC, and Trentham-Dietz A. Rat Models of 17β-Estradiol-Induced Mammary Cancer Reveal Novel Insights into Breast Cancer Etiology and Prevention. Physiological Genomics. 2018 Jan 26. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00105.2017. PMID: 29373076  View Lay Summary   View Visual Abstract

Silk K, Sheff S, Lapinski M, Hoffman A. Communication campaigns that emphasize environmental influences on health and risk. In: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Parrott R., editor. Oxford, UK. Oxford University Press; 2016. View Lay Summary

Silk K, Smith S. Organizations, Communication, and Health. Harrison TR, Williams EA, editors. New York: Routledge; 2016. Organizing transdisciplinary research: A breast cancer and the environment collaborative model; p.297-312. View Lay Summary


Terry MB, Michels KB, Brody JG, Byrne C, Chen S, Jerry DJ, Malecki KMC, Martin MB, Miller RL, Neuhausen SL, Silk K, Trentham-Dietz A; Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP). Environmental exposures during windows of susceptibility for breast cancer: a framework for prevention research. Breast Cancer Res. 2019 Aug 20;21(1):96. doi: 10.1186/s13058-019-1168-2.  View Lay Summary   View Visual Abstract


Vandenberg LN, Kolla S, LaPlante CD, Jerry DJ. The Mouse Mammary Gland: a Tool to Inform Adolescents About Environmental Causes of Breast Cancer. J Cancer Educ. 2019 Jun 21. doi: 10.1007/s13187-019-01563-w. View Lay Summary


Wang W, Do HN, Aupperlee MD, Durairaj S, Flynn EE, Miksicek RJ, Haslam SZ, Schwartz RC. C/EBPβ LIP and c-Jun synergize to regulate expression of the murine progesterone receptor. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2018 Jun 2. pii: S0303-7207(18)30187-4. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2018.06.001. View Lay Summary

Wright K, Fisher C, Rising C, Burke-Garcia A, Afanaseva D, Cai X. Partnering With Mommy Bloggers to Disseminate Breast Cancer Risk Information: Social Media Intervention. J Med Internet Res 2019; 21(3): e12441. DOI: 10.2196/12441. View Lay Summary

Wu HC, Do C, Andrulis IL, John EM, Daly MB, Buys SS, Chung WK, Knight JA, Bradbury AR, Keegan THM, Schwartz L, Krupska I, Miller RL, Santella RM, Tycko B, Terry MB. Breast cancer family history and allele-specific DNA methylation in the legacy girls study. Epigenetics. 2018;13(3):240-250. doi: 10.1080/15592294.2018.1435243. Epub 2018 Apr 2. View Lay Summary


Zhu Y, Aupperlee MD, Haslam SZ, Schwartz RC. Pubertally-initiated high fat diet promotes mammary tumorigenesis in obesity-prone FVB mice similarly to obesity-resistant BALB/c mice. Transl Oncol. 2017 Dec;10(6):928-935. doi: 10.1016/j.tranon.2017.09.004. Epub 2017 Oct 9. View Lay Summary

Zhu Y, Aupperlee MD, Zhao Y, Tan YS, Kirk EL, Sun X, Troester MA, Schwartz RC, Haslam SZ. Pubertal and adult windows of susceptibility to a high animal fat diet in Trp53-null mammary tumorigenesis. Oncotarget. 2016;7(50):83409-83423. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.13112. PMID: 27825136  View Lay Summary