Linda A. deGraffenried

Linda A. deGraffenried

The University of Texas at Austin, USA

Title: Obesity and breast cancer: Can an aspirin a day really improve survival?


Dr. Linda deGraffenried completed her PhD in Molecular Medicine and postdoctoral fellowship in Breast Cancer studies at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio. She is an Associate Professor at UT Austin, and has published more than 30 peer-reviewed studies in the field of cancer development and progression. She is on the editorial board of several prestigious journals, and serves as a referee for numerous cancer organizations, including the NIH/NCI, Susan G. Komen Foundation and American Cancer Society


Multiple studies have demonstrated that obesity is associated with a worse outcome for most breast cancer subtypes and that obese breast cancer patients do not respond as well as normal weight patients to hormone therapy as well as chemotherapy. While a number of reasons have been proposed to explain this link, including diagnosis bias and complications caused by co-morbidities such as Type II diabetes, recent studies have provided evidence that elevated local cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and the resulting increase in prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) production may play an important role. COX-2 upregulation in breast tumors is associated with a poor prognosis, a connection generally attributed to PGE2's direct effects on apoptosis and invasion as well as its stimulation of pre-adipocyte aromatase expression and subsequent estrogen production. Research in this area has provided a strong foundation for the hypothesis that COX-2 signaling is involved in the obesity-breast cancer link. Our recent pre-clinical and clinical data suggest that this inflammation-related signaling modulates several pathways critical to cancer progression in the obese breast cancer patient – but importantly – suppression of this signaling through fairly non-toxic approaches may provide significant clinical benefit and improve response to standard therapies – which will be critical as obesity reaches epidemic levels world-wide