International Breast Cancer and Nutrition


The international breast cancer and nutrition (IBCN) project will be a model for primary prevention of noncommunicable diseases. It will advance science and inform health communication, provide strategies, and improve public policy on breast cancer prevention. The IBCN will forge global collaborations on research that takes into account culture and environment, including nutrition and lifestyle. This research-based initiative will transcend political, social and economic factors.


  1. We must discover how to prevent breast cancer onset in addition to diagnosis and treatment.
  2. We must understand and be sensitive to cultural values and practices for discovering environmental factors that influence breast cancer onset, and for developing effective primary prevention interventions around the globe.
  3. All regions of the world must work together to share research, knowledge and innovations to approach primary prevention of breast cancer because breast cancer is global.
  4. Interdisciplinary teams are essential to understand interactions among environment, culture, nutrition, lifestyle and disease development
  5. We value integrity in scholarship and applications in disease prevention and the respect of human dignity.


The mission of the IBCN project is to foster the development of a community of scientists across disciplines and public health experts dedicated to research on the primary prevention of breast cancer. Within this mission IBCN is also designing an international, multidisciplinary and integrated collaborative program to identify the impact of nutrition on breast cancer onset (and recurrence) and to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in nutrient-induced breast tissue alterations and cancer development. The anticipated outcomes of this program are the development of strategies to diminish breast cancer incidence and/or incidence of aggressive forms of breast cancer based on epidemiological and biological findings related to nutrition and an impact on public policies via information of the public and health authorities.


The development of breast cancer prevention strategies will be facilitated through a better understanding of the epigenetic regulation of the genome (i.e, a series of mechanisms resulting in the reorganization of chromatin, and including but not limited to posttranslational histone modifications and DNA methylation, and that control the expression and silencing of genes). An approach is to identify epigenetic factors that influence breast cancer onset in response to the environment. An initial focus is on nutrition since dietary patterns have been associated with breast cancer and nutrients are known to impact gene expression (nutrigenomics). This approach will be facilitated by the development of novel assessment methods of presymptomatic, normal appearing tissues. Once the diet-epigenetic interactions that protect or weaken the breast epithelium have been identified, it will be possible to develop effective breast cancer prevention strategies that will benefit from innovative methods of delivery (localized treatment, patient-tailored program, etc) and of rapid evaluation of the intervention success. This approach can also be applied to the study of additional environmental factors on breast cancer development (e.g., stress, pollutants).   


  1. Identify the potential links among diet, epigenomic characteristics and breast cancers.  
  2. Create new models for understanding the individual and environmental factors that contribute to breast cancer incidence.
  3. Design a primary prevention model that can be generalized to examine individual and environmental factors responsible for the incidence of other chronic diseases.
  4. Identify targets and strategies to prevent breast cancer development.
  5. Translate discoveries to global communities.





Research Projects and Presentations

Susan Bulkeley Butler Award

Training & Education

Values & Ethics

Strategic Plan

Publications & Communication

International Voices

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IBCN Acknowledgments

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