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Breast Cancer Lymphedema: Role of Insulin Resistance/FOXC2

This study has been completed.
California Breast Cancer Research Program
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Stanford University Identifier:
First received: September 29, 2006
Last updated: May 28, 2013
Last verified: May 2013
To better understand the mechanisms leading to lymphedema development in breast cancer survivors, and the implications for potential innovative approaches to the screening, prevention and treatment of this condition.

Breast Cancer

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Breast Cancer Lymphedema: Role of Insulin Resistance/FOXC2

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Stanford University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • assess insulin sensitivity in late breast cancer survivors [ Time Frame: visit 2 ]

Biospecimen Retention:   Samples With DNA

Enrollment: 30
Study Start Date: July 2005
Study Completion Date: April 2012
Primary Completion Date: March 2012 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Detailed Description:

Lymphedema of the arm is an important, under-recognized, and under-treated complication of successful surgical and radiotherapeutic treatment of breast cancer. As a result of advances in early detection and effective adjuvant therapies, many women diagnosed with breast cancer today can expect survival that is similar to age-matched women without breast cancer. Nevertheless, this source of substantial physical and psychological morbidity has not attracted sufficient attention from industry or the scientific research community to result in either effective risk stratification or the availability highly effective therapeutic interventions.

While the presence and degree of arm edema can, in part, correlated with the extent of axillary surgery, we still comprehend only poorly the factors that predispose to overt lymphatic insufficiency in the patients at risk for lymphedema by virtue of prior breast cancer treatment. It is likely that this anatomic and regenerative variability relies, at least in part, upon an as yet undefined genetic substrate. A growing body of evidence suggests that mutations in the nuclear transcription gene FOXC2 are responsible for a broad clinical array of primary lymphedema syndromes. The biology of breast cancer-associated lymphedema, including its characteristic latency phase, suggests that similar mechanisms may operate in the predisposition to this and other forms of secondary lymphedema.

In parallel, breast cancer-associated lymphedema has several clinical attributes that suggest a relationship to, and a role for, insulin resistance. In this regard, it is interesting to contemplate the recent, multiple lines of evidence that suggest that the gene FOXC2 regulates, directly or indirectly, several aspects of adipocyte metabolism and that genetic variability in the gene may influence features associated with the insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome. These observations are of particular interest because of the recognized relationship of FOXC2 haploinsufficiency to a variety of identified lymphedema syndromes. It is therefore attractive to conjecture that insulin resistance, perhaps mediated through polymorphisms of FOXC2,.confers secondary lymphedema risk and predisposes to the as yet poorly understood tendency for breast cancer survivors to acquire substantial, pathological deposits of adipose tissue in the affected extremities with chronicity of the lymphedema.

The specific aims of this proposal are as follows: (1) to quantitatively assess insulin sensitivity in late breast cancer survivors, equally divided among subjects who display clinical evidence of ipsilateral arm edema and those that do not; (2) to correlate the presence of relative insulin resistance to the expression of breast cancer-associated lymphedema. It is hypothesized that such an approach has the capability to lead to future elaboration of appropriate risk stratification and targeted therapeutic interventions; (3) as a pilot investigation, to sequence the FOXC2 gene, including the untranslated 5' region, in each these patients, to identify potential polymorphisms that might correlate both to the presence of insulin resistance and lymphedema risk.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Breast cancer survivors

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patients enrolled in the proposed studies must be survivors of breast cancer at a time point at least 4 years following the initial surgery and radiotherapy for the disease.
  • Patients must have a history of unilateral axillary lymph node dissection.
  • Patients referred to, or that receive their care within the Stanford University Breast Cancer Program and the Stanford Center for Lymphatic and Venous Disorders.
  • Patients will be required to have the capacity to provide informed consent.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients with other serious systemic illness (renal failure, hepatic dysfunction, congestive heart failure, neurological or psychological impairment) that would confound the study or impair the patients' ability to participate.
  • Patients will not be enrolled if they are taking drugs that affect carbohydrate metabolism.
  • Patients with recurrent breast cancer or other forms of pre-existing lymphedema will be ineligible.
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00383604

United States, California
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, California, United States, 94305
Sponsors and Collaborators
Stanford University
California Breast Cancer Research Program
Principal Investigator: Stanley G Rockson Stanford University
  More Information

Responsible Party: Stanford University Identifier: NCT00383604     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: BRSNSTU0009
96204 ( Other Identifier: Stanford University Alternate IRB Approval Number )
BRSNSTU0009 ( Other Identifier: Stanford University )
2580 ( Other Identifier: Stanford IRB )
Study First Received: September 29, 2006
Last Updated: May 28, 2013

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Breast Neoplasms
Insulin Resistance
Neoplasms by Site
Breast Diseases
Skin Diseases
Glucose Metabolism Disorders
Metabolic Diseases
Lymphatic Diseases processed this record on April 28, 2017