Meet the Researcher: Lexie White

lexie whiteThe KTB is pleased to introduce you to Dr. Lexie White, NIH Stadtman Investigator, who requested and worked with data from KTB participants as well as from a previously studied cohort.

Q: How did you find out about the Komen Tissue Bank, and why did it interest you?

I found out about KTB at a scientific research meeting, where a colleague was presenting on work they had done in the study. I was excited about the unique opportunity to explore how normal breast tissue characteristics may be influenced by environmental exposures, such as air pollution, in order to help us better understand how the environment influences breast cancer risk.

Q: What types of samples have you obtained from the Komen Tissue Bank?

I have used existing breast tissue histologic measures that are available in the Komen Tissue bank population. 

Q: What do you hope to discover/have you discovered in your research? 

We took the residential address that the study participants lived at when they donated their tissue sample and estimated their annual average exposure to air pollutants. We found that participants who lived in areas of higher air pollution exposure tended to have higher terminal duct lobular units counts (TDLUs), which are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. 

Q: How will the Komen Tissue Bank samples help with your research? What value do they add?

The KTB samples have allowed us to explore how air pollution may impact the normal breast tissue in ways that may predispose women to go on to develop breast cancer later in life. This work has provided support for a causal relationship between air pollution and breast cancer.

Q: Please explain in lay terms how your research might impact treatment options for BC patients in the future?

I don’t think that this work will impact treatment options but may be used by clinicians to encourage awareness of air pollutant exposure and how it may be related to breast cancer risk.

Q: Our readers would love to know some personal information about you. Tell us anything at all that you feel comfortable talking about.

I live in Carrboro, NC with my two kids and my COVID-era rescue dog, River, who ironically refuses to go swimming in any bodies of water!