Breast Implants and Breast Cancer Immunosurveillance

Project: Research project

Project Details


Historically, there has been public concern that breast implants may be associated with breast cancer. This partly lead to the US FDA ban on silicone implants in 1992 that has since been lifted. More recently, a different type of cancer, anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), has been linked to breast implants, albeit at a very low incidence (359 reports world-wide, In the quest to determine the safety of breast implants, multiple studies have shown no association with breast implants and breast cancer. In focusing on the original hypothesis, however, many of these studies have focused only on showing there is no increased risk. What researchers have failed to notice is that many of these studies actually show a decreased incidence of breast cancer in women with breast implants. In fact, a meta-analysis of these studies demonstrate a rather significant relative risk of 0.62 (95% CI 0.56-0.71) (Noels 2015). Some hypothesize the link between ALCL and breast implants is related to peri-implant inflammation gone wrong (Hu, 2016). Similarly, we hypothesize there is a link between breast implant-induced local inflammation and a subsequent systemic immune response that alters the body’s immunosurveillance capability to recognize breast tumor cells that protects against, rather than promotes, tumor development. We have previously shown women with long term breast implants have heightened antibody responses to certain breast cancer proteins, in particular mammaglobin-A and MUC-1. We would like to further our understanding of the relationship between peri-implant inflammation and these elevated humoral responses. We hypothesize elevated humoral responses seen in the setting of long term breast implants are related to T cell activation elicited by the foreign body implant. To examine our hypothesis, we will test patient blood before and after implant placement for peripheral and local T-cell recognition of breast cancer-associated antigens.
Effective start/end date7/1/206/30/22


  • Plastic Surgery Foundation (Awrd 09/16/2020)


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