Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 30, Issue 10, pp 1113–1126 | Cite as

Inflammation and breast density among female Chinese immigrants: exploring variations across neighborhoods

  • Carolyn Y. FangEmail author
  • Brian L. Egleston
  • Celia Byrne
  • Gregory S. Bohr
  • Harsh B. Pathak
  • Andrew K. Godwin
  • Philip T. Siu
  • Marilyn Tseng
Original Paper



We examined associations of inflammation with breast density, a marker of breast cancer risk, among female Chinese immigrants and explored whether associations varied by neighborhood environment.


Assessments of serum C-reactive protein (CRP), soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (sTNFR2), and breast density were performed among 401 Chinese immigrants across the Philadelphia region. Participant addresses were geocoded, with the majority residing in areas representing traditional urban enclaves (i.e., Chinatown and South Philadelphia) or an emerging enclave with a smaller, but rapidly growing Chinese immigrant population (i.e., the Near Northeast). The remainder was classified as residing in non-enclaves.


In multivariable adjusted regression models, CRP was inversely associated with dense breast area (p = 0.01). Levels of sTNFR2 were also inversely associated with dense breast area, but these associations varied by neighborhood (interaction p = 0.01); specifically, inverse associations were observed among women residing in the emerging enclave (p = 0.03), but not other neighborhoods.


Among Chinese immigrant women, aggregate analyses that do not take neighborhood context into consideration can mask potential variations in association of inflammatory markers with breast density. Future studies should consider how neighborhood contextual factors may contribute to differential risk pathways.


Inflammation Breast density Neighborhood Asian Immigrant Acculturation 



This research was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants R01 CA106606 and R01 MD012621.


This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grants R01 CA106606 and R01 MD012621.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences or the U.S. Department of Defense.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer Prevention and Control ProgramFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Biostatistics and Bioinformatics FacilityFox Chase Cancer CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of Preventive Medicine & BiostatisticsUniformed Services University of the Health SciencesBethesdaUSA
  4. 4.Social Sciences DepartmentCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Pathology & Laboratory MedicineUniversity of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA
  6. 6.University of Kansas Cancer CenterKansas CityUSA
  7. 7.Chinatown Medical ServicesGreater Philadelphia Health Action, Inc.PhiladelphiaUSA
  8. 8.Department of Kinesiology and Public HealthCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA

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