Spatial and temporal age-related spectral alterations in benign human breast tissue

Theophilou, Georgios, Fogarty, Simon, Trevisan, Julio, Strong, Becky, Heys, Kelly, Patel, Imran, Stringfellow, Helen F., Martin-Hirsch, Pierre Leonard and Martin, Francis L orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8562-4944 (2016) Spatial and temporal age-related spectral alterations in benign human breast tissue. Journal of Molecular Structure, 1106 . pp. 390-398. ISSN 0022-2860

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Epidemiological evidence suggests that cancers attributable to exogenous carcinogenic agents may appear decades after initiating exposures. Environmental factors including lifestyle and/or diet have been implicated in the aetiology of breast cancer. Breast tissue undergoes continuous molecular and morphological changes from the time of thelarche to menopause and thereafter. These alterations are both cyclical and longitudinal, and can be influenced by several environmental factors including exposure to oestrogens. Research into the latent period leading to breast carcinogenesis has been mostly limited to when hyperplastic lesions are present. Investigations to identify a biomarker of commitment to disease in normal breast tissue are hindered by the molecular and histological diversity of disease-free breast tissue. Benign tissue from reduction mammoplasties provides an opportunity to study biochemical differences between women of similar ages as well as alterations with advancing age. Herein, synchrotron radiation-based Fourier-transform infrared (SR-FTIR) microspectroscopy was used to examine the terminal ductal lobular epithelium (TDLU) and, intra- and inter-lobular epithelium to identify spatial and temporal changes within these areas. Principal component analysis (PCA) followed by linear discriminant analysis of mid-infrared spectra revealed unambiguous inter-individual as well as age-related differences in each histological compartment interrogated. Moreover, exploratory PCA of luminal and myoepithelial cells within the TDLU indicated the presence of specific cells, potentially stem cells. Understanding alterations within benign tissue may assist in the identification of alterations in latent pre-clinical stages of breast cancer.

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