AS403 - Systemic and Breast-Cancer Specific Autoimmunity in the WHI

This page provides study documentation for AS403. For description of the specimen results, see Specimen Results Description (open to public). Data sets of the specimen results are included in the existing WHI datasets located on the WHI Data on this site (sign in and a completed Data Distribution Agreement are required; see details on the Data site).​

Investigator Names and Contact Information

Christine Parks []


​In the current Feasibility Proposal, we hope to obtain funds to access WHI specimens so we can generate two sets of autoantibody data that will increase the utility of pilot data from BA20 and help to better understand the relationship between TAA and ANA in incident breast cancer cases and noncases. These data support our efforts to seek funding for AS347 analyses and additional autoantibody testing for AS347-Aim1, a case-control study of ANA and breast cancer in women without RA or SLE.


This Feasibility Proposal seeks funding to access serum specimens for TAA assays (Aim 1), and to generate new ANA data on women reporting SLE (Aim 2). TAA assays will be conducted through resources in the laboratory of Dr. Samir Hanash (MD Anderson Cancer Center). 

Aim 1 - To generate data on tumor-specific autoantibodies (TAA) in a nested case-control sample of women with RA or SLE (est. total N=368).
1.1 Among participants with reported RA, measure investigate the occurrence of TAA in all breast cancer cases with a positive ANA (N=67), compared with a sample of cases with a negative ANA (N=67), matched by age and time to diagnosis (N=134);
1.2 Among participants with reported RA, investigate the occurrence of TAA in a sub-sample of women without breast cancer or other cancer diagnoses, including equal number of ANA-positive and ANAnegative participants, age-matched to breast cancer cases in Aim 1.1 (N=134);
1.3 Among participants with reported SLE, measure TAA in all breast cancer cases (est. N=25), and a 3:1 age-matched sample of SLE-participants (est. N=75) who did not develop breast or other cancers during follow-up.

Aim 2 - To generate ANA data on SLE cases reported at baseline and follow-up (est. N=100)
2.1 Conduct ANA testing by standard IFA technology on reported SLE cases selected in Aim 1 for TAA (est. N=100); generate antibody specificities on ANA-positives (est. 50);
2.2 Investigate patterns of TAA/ANA in relation to cancer diagnoses (to combine with Aim 1.1), and occurrence of TAA in relation to ANA in non-cancer cases (e.g., Aim 1.2).