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Response to Lee et al 2019: Essential to frame study implications within the context of prior findings from enriched cohorts for underlying familial risk of breast cancer
  1. Mary Beth Terry1,2,
  2. Nur Zeinomar1
  1. 1 Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2 Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, NY, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mary Beth Terry, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA; mt146{at}

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We read with great interest the paper by Lee and colleagues1 supporting an association between women’s occupational exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and risk of breast cancer. Their finding of a greater risk for women with a first-degree family history of breast cancer is consistent with our finding published in 2017 showing a very strong interaction between PAH albumin adducts and family history and breast cancer risk in a prospective cohort of women at high risk from breast cancer.2 Unlike Lee and colleagues, however, we did not examine an ever/never construct of family history but rather based our assessment using a continuous family history score …

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  • Contributors MBT drafted the initial letter. MBT and NZ both read and approved the final version submitted.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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