Kathleen F. Arcaro
Professor of Environmental Toxicology, University of Massachusetts
Ph.D.: Rutgers University
Postdoctoral Training: University at Albany & Wadsworth Laboratories, New York State Department of Health
The vast majority of breast cancers are sporadic, yet current risk assessment tools do not identify individual risk. A major goal of the research in the Arcaro lab is to develop tools for assessing individual breast cancer risk. To this end, we study breastmilk. Human milk contains multiple cell types, including epithelial cells from the lining of the ducts and lobules. Because cancer-related DNA methylation may occur decades before disease diagnosis, we are interested in determining the extent to which DNA methylation patterns in the sloughed epithelial cells can inform future breast cancer risk. Accurately assessing individual risk would provide women the opportunity to make informed decisions regarding preventative treatments.