Breast cancer subtypes

Breast cancer subtypes

The Breast Cancer Subtypes Project involves the main areas of research in HMN-NTNU's strategy. It utilizes data from population studies, tissue biobanks and medical technological methods resulting in translational research projects of a disease that affects one woman in 12 every year and is the most common cancer disease among women in Norway today.

The project is a study of the relationship between reproductive factors and morphologic and genetic subtypes of breast cancer and the interactions between non-genetic factors and genetic variants in relation to breast cancer risk.

Broadly speaking the study encompasses two cohorts of women:

1) 22,000 Norwegian women who participated in a screening program for breast cancer in the early 1960s. As part of the screening, comprehensive information was collected on reproductive factors, including age at menarche, age at first birth, parity, age at last birth, and menopausal status. Now most of these women have died, and more than 1500 developed breast cancer during their life time.
2) Women who participated in the HUNT-2 study in 1995. Similar epidemiological data is registered for these women and about 600 cases of breast cancer have occurred in this cohort to date.

Based on the above mentioned data a number of studies will be carried out in the fields of cancer epidemiology, oncology and pathology.

The main areas of interest in this project are:

A) A comparison of the prognostic and predictive precision of the three histopathological classification systems: histological typing; histopathological grading and subtyping based on genetic subclassification.
B) Studies of the association between factors that have shown consistent associations with breast cancer risk and disease subtype.
C) Molecular pathological studies of the relationship between factors influencing tumour initiation, proliferation, invasiveness and metastasis using high through-put tissue microarrays and molecular pathological methods such as immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridisation, polymerase chain reaction, DNA-sequencing.
D) A comparison between the two cohorts of women with regard to breast cancer epidemiology and molecular characteristics of the tumours occurring in these two populations.

03 Nov 2011

Logo breast cancer subtypes

Logo breast cancer sub types



Principal investigator Anna Bofin
Principal investigator Lars Vatten

08 Sep 2011

At the moment

At the moment

  • Reclassification of breast cancer into molecular subtypes completed for cohort 1 in May, 2013
  • Reclassification of cohort 2 (HUNT2) starts in Autumn 2013


  • 2013: Ph.D. student Monica J. Engstrøm was awarded a research grant of NOK 10 000 by the Norwegian Pathology Society for her presentation "Top2A gene amplification in breast cancer" at their annual meeting in Trondheim 15-17 March.
  • 2013: Medical students Anders Brabrand and Ian Kariuki were awarded NOK 10 000 for their presentation "Collagen patterns in breast cancer" at the Ingrid S. Gribbestad Memorial Workshop on Breast Cancer, Kongsvold Fjeldstue 11.-13. September.

Age incidence curve of breast cancer
Possible causes for breast cancer

27 Nov 2014



Engstrøm MJ, Opdahl S, Hagen AI, Romundstad PR, Akslen LA, Haugen OA, Vatten LJ, Bofin AM
Molecular subtypes, histopathological grade and survival in a historic cohort of breast cancer patients Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013 Aug;140(3):463-73. doi: 10.1007/s10549-013-2647-2

Horn J, Åsvold BO, Opdahl S, Tretli S, Vatten LJ
Reproductive factors and the risk of breast cancer in old age: a Norwegian cohort study.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013 May;139(1):237-43. doi: 10.1007/s10549-013-2531-0

Opdahl S, Alsaker MD, Janszky I, Romundstad PR, Vatten LJ.
Joint effects of nulliparity and other breast cancer risk factors.
Br J Cancer. 2011 Aug 23;105(5):731-6. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.286. Epub 2011 Aug 2

Alsaker MD, Opdahl S, Asvold BO, Romundstad PR, Vatten LJ.
The association of reproductive factors and breastfeeding with long term survival from breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Nov;130(1):175-82. Epub 2011 May

25 Sep 2013