Overview of the Arkansas Rural Community Health (ARCH) study
In October 2007, UAMS began recruitment through convenience sampling at community events for ARCH, formerly known as Spit for the Cure, in conjunction with breast cancer Awareness Month and the Komen Race for the Cure in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is a population-based cohort study of breast cancer (survivors) and disease-free participants from Arkansas that was open for enrollment from 2007 to 2013. The goal for the cohort was to examine the association between breast cancer outcome and genetic predisposition. Overall, more than 4,000 participants were recruited in the first month. Importantly, > 96% of the recruits agreed to be re-contacted for future studies. Eligible ARCH participants included women aged 18–100, who could provide informed consent at baseline, completed a questionnaire on breast cancer risk factors, and provided a saliva sample for DNA isolation.
Prevalent breast cancer cases were self-reported and/or confirmed through linkage with the Arkansas Central Cancer Registry (ACCR). Incident breast cancer cases were confirmed through linkage with the ACCR as true matches based on unique identifying numbers. In total, the grassroots, community-based recruitment efforts generated a cohort of 26,375 women, aged 18 to 98 years from all 75 Arkansas counties with samples and data from healthy participants (n=23,408), confirmed breast cancer prevalent (n=2,337), and incident breast cancer patients (n=630, Table 1). Detailed data regarding cancer histology, stage, subtype, and tumor characteristics (estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor/HER2) have been obtained on all prevalent and incident cases through the linkage. In addition, we have identified 709 mother-daughter pairs (1,418 individuals) allowing us to study the transgenerational effects of environmental exposure.