Breast cancer gene breakthrough

22 March 2013 09:35

A newly identified set of genes linked to fat metabolism could help doctors identify women at high risk of specific kinds of breast cancer

A newly identified set of genes linked to fat metabolism could help doctors identify women at high risk of specific kinds of breast cancer

Doctors could be able to identify women at a high risk of specific kinds of breast cancer thanks to a newly identified set of genes. Activity of these genes, which are linked to fat metabolism, indicates whether a woman is likely to develop cancer that is hormone-sensitive.

Experts say this would make a big difference to treatment, as a large number of drugs can only treat breast cancer fuelled by the female sex hormone oestrogen. Breast cancer travel insurance can also make a big difference to breast cancer patients on holiday abroad, giving them peace of mind to enjoy their trip.

Scientists analysed fine-needle biopsy samples from the unaffected breasts of 15 women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer, and the same number of women with tumours that were unresponsive to oestrogen. They identified 13 genes with significantly higher activity levels in hormone-insensitive samples, eight of which were associated with the metabolism, or breakdown, of fats.

The findings from researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago were published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

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