$750,000 Breast Cancer Study Grant, Utilizing RPCV Women Fails To Obtain Adequate Data

A $750,000 study designed to examine if taking the malaria prevention drug, chloroquine (Arlen) would reduce the risk of breast cancer among RPCV women did not attract sufficient number of respondents.  It is not clear if any further study will be done.  The research team needed between 14,000 t0 18,000 participants, but less than 500 RPCV women had responded by May of 2014. The three year study ended in 2015.


The  Research Team at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas received the  $750,000 grant from the Department of Defense to study, “A Translational Approach to Validate In Vivo Anti-Tumor Effects of Chloroquine on Breast Cancer Risk”. Animal studies had suggested that female mammals who were given chloroquine had a lifetime reduced risk of breast cancer. The grant was awarded to Baylor to investigate if this effect could be found in human females.  The Baylor team chose to study RPCV women who had served between 1961 and 1990 and had received chloroquine (Arlen).  The study was NOT an official Peace Corps study and the Baylor team did NOT have access to any personal data from Peace Corps records. Instead, the team utilized a data collecting method called Respondent Driven Sampling. Baylor partnered with the National Peace Corps Association to publicize the study and recruit participants.

Problems with Final Report:

The National Peace Corps Association noted discrepancies in the final report and asked for corrections.  Here is that correspondence:

“Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Mr. Blumhorst,

You wrote me in February 2016 (attached) about “significant discrepancies in the final report submitted to me in July 2015 from the Baylor College of Medicine for the study “A Translational Approach to Validate in Vivo Anti-Tumor Effects of Chloroquine on Breast Cancer Risk” (award number W81XWH-12-1-0144.”

Attached is the revised report. The differences from the original submission are as follows:

1) On page 5 the dates for conference attendance were changed from “…Anniversary conference in Washington DC in September 2012, a gathering of returned volunteers in June 2013 in Minneapolis, MN…” to “…Anniversary conference in Washington DC in September 2011, a gathering of returned volunteers in June 2012 in Minneapolis, MN…” to reflect the proper dates of the conference and gathering.

2) The title of Appendix E (page 55) was given the subtitle ” (Working Document — Not Final)” to indicate its draft status.

3) On page 58 the text associated with the category “What is the National Peace Corps Association’s in this study?” was updated to remove language that stated the NPCA shared their database with BCM. A draft of the text changes with strikethrough of the removed words is also provided as an attachment.

We have sent our Contract Information Management office the request to have this uploaded in the Defense Technical information Center (DTIC).

I hope the corrective measures are suitable to address your concerns. If you require anything else or would like to discuss the matter further please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Sandra J. Rogers
Staff Action Officer

US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command
810 Schreider Street
Fort Detrick, MD 21702-5012″

Thanks to the National Peace Corps Association for calling these problems to the Us Army Medical Research and Materiel Command and for sharing this correspondence.

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