Breast cancer etiology may vary by subtype

May 21, 2009

Women's reproductive and lifestyle characteristics can be linked to different invasive breast cancer subtypes. Data on 2544 breast cancer cases, presented in the open access journal Breast Cancer Research, suggests that traditional risk factors for development of the condition are associated with different kinds of tumor.

Marilyn Kwan from Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, California, led a team of researchers who used data from the LACE (Life After ) and Pathways studies to investigate the characteristics of women with different breast cancer subtypes: luminal A, luminal B, triple negative and Her2-overexpressing. She said, "These varying associations by subtype lend further support to the growing evidence base that breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease defined by estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and Her2 expression with distinct etiologic pathways and prognoses".

The researchers found that patients with luminal B tumors were generally younger at diagnosis than those with luminal A and were less likely to consume alcohol, use HRT or use . Compared to luminal A cases, triple negative cases tended to be African American, younger at diagnosis and overweight/obese if premenopausal. Her2-overexpressing cases were also more likely to be seen in younger patients than luminal A cases and were more likely to be Hispanic or Asian.

Kwan concludes, "Future research should focus on refinement of tumor subtypes in order to best elucidate how the risk factors may vary. Important modifiable factors that may be related to the development of specific tumor subtypes include obesity in the case of triple negative cancers and alcohol consumption for luminal B tumors".

More information: Epidemiology of breast cancer subtypes in two prospective cohort studies of breast cancer survivors, Marilyn L Kwan, Lawrence H Kushi, Erin Weltzien, Benjamin Maring, Susan E Kutner, Regan S Fulton, Marion M Lee, Christine B Ambrosone and Bette J Caan, Research (in press), http://breast-cancer-research.com/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: Early hormone therapy may be safe for women's hearts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Breast stem cell fate is regulated by 'notch'

Oct 08, 2008

A normal developmental protein that sometimes goes awry has been implicated in breast cancer. This discovery indicates the mechanism by which inappropriate expression of the Notch pathway may contribute to breast cancer.

Recommended for you

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

5 hours ago

(AP)—Stop sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds, the acting U.S. surgeon general warned in a report released Tuesday that cites an alarming 200 percent jump in deadly melanoma cases since 1973.

Penn team makes cancer glow to improve surgical outcomes

5 hours ago

The best way to cure most cases of cancer is to surgically remove the tumor. The Achilles heel of this approach, however, is that the surgeon may fail to extract the entire tumor, leading to a local recurrence.

Cancer: Tumors absorb sugar for mobility

17 hours ago

Cancer cells are gluttons. We have long known that they monopolize large amounts of sugar. More recently, it became clear that some tumor cells are also characterized by a series of features such as mobility or unlikeliness ...

User comments : 0