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Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program


The Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program (BCERP), a joint effort co-funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), has been renewed for a third phase in October 2015. BCERP began with the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Centers (BCERC) in 2003. The BCERP supports a multidisciplinary network of scientists, clinicians, and community partners to examine the effects of environmental exposures that may predispose a woman to breast cancer throughout her life.

The newest phase of BCERP will continue the original overarching goal of investigating environmental influences and their interplay with genetic factors on breast cancer risk and expand the investigation of these determinants and their association with specific windows of susceptibility across the lifespan. Additionally, BCERP investigators will look for intermediate markers of breast cancer risk, such as breast density.

BCERP-funded projects incorporate a transdisciplinary approach, involving collaborations between different scientific disciplines to address a common research question. Each BCERP project is comprised of a biology study, a human study, and a community engagement component. This broadened research focus will add to the growing knowledge of environmental and genetic factors that may influence breast cancer risk across the lifespan and reflects recommendations made by the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee (IBCERCC) in 2013.

Learn more about the BCERPExternal Web Site Policy

Funded Projects

EGRP is co-funding the BCERP network with NIEHS and partnering with NCI's Division of Cancer Biology on this effort.

The six newest BCERP projects, plus a new coordinating center promoting cross-project collaboration, are jointly funded by NIEHS and NCI (see list of projects below; those co-funded by NCI include links to abstracts). All projects involve strong partnerships between researchers and community organizations focused on breast cancer risk, prevention, or environmental health.


The BCERP has published more than 150 scientific manuscripts. View a list of BCERP publicationsExternal Web Site Policy.

Additionally, the BCERP community partners have developed a wide range of outreach and educational materials related to normal breast development and how exposure to chemicals that act like hormones in the body during specific developmental periods might influence breast cancer susceptibility. View BCERP education and outreach materialsExternal Web Site Policy.

A progress report summarizing research from the first phase of the BCERP, the Breast Cancer and Environment Research Centers (BCERC), was presented in 2009 to NCI's Board of Scientific Advisors and the NIEHS National Advisory Environmental Health Sciences Council. View the 2009 BCERC Progress Report [PDF - 3 MB].


NIEHS Contacts

NCI Contacts