Gene-linked breast cancer risk unaffected by hormone therapy

Jun 01, 2010

Hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle choices do not boost the risk of breast cancer associated with a dozen common genetic mutations, according to a study published Wednesday.

Factors such as hormone treatment, , obesity and giving birth to a first child later in life have all been linked to a higher risk of .

A number of common genetic variations also correlate with the disease, albeit weakly.

Earlier research suggested that combining the two types of risk factors could amplify the overall danger, but results were inconclusive.

To help tease apart genetic and non-genetic influences, scientists led by Ruth Travis at the University of Oxford examined the medical histories of some 17,350 women, 7,160 of whom had developed breast cancer.

All of the participants provided blood samples for genetic testing and information on lifestyle habits. Most of the women were post-menopausal.

The researchers looked for 12 variants in the women's DNA known to boost the danger of cancer.

They also measured 10 environmental risk factors: age at puberty, number of births, age at first birth, breastfeeding, menopausal status, age at menopause, use of hormone therapy, body fat, height and .

Surprisingly, none of the 120 possible match-ups between a single genetic variant and a behavioural or body-type risk factor showed a statistically significant increase in breast cancer risk.

"There was no convincing evidence for gene-environment interaction," the researchers concluded.

The study did not cover data on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which have a far stronger association to breast cancer than the other genetic variants examined but are much rarer.

"Genes account for only a small proportion of breast cancers for most women and for most women the main risk remains the ," said Oxford's Jane Green, a co-author of the study.

"The good news is that some of these are modifiable, so by changing their behaviour women can alter their risk of breast cancer."

Explore further: Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

European ancestry increases breast cancer risk among Latinas

Dec 01, 2008

Latina women have a lower risk of breast cancer than European or African-American women generally, but those with higher European ancestry could be at increased risk, according to data published in the December 1 issue of ...

Breast cancer risk factors differ among races

Apr 26, 2010

A new study finds that factors known to increase the risk of breast cancer among white women have less influence in Hispanic women. Published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Societ ...

First confirmed common genetic risk factors for breast cancer

May 29, 2007

The most powerful genetic analysis of the DNA codes of over 40,000 women -- including those with breast cancer as well as those without the disease – has uncovered five common genetic variants that increase an individual’s ...

Weight gain increases breast cancer risk

Jul 13, 2006

Women who gain weight as young adults have a greater risk of developing breast cancer after menopause than women who maintain or lose weight, a study says.

Recommended for you

Unraveling the 'black ribbon' around lung cancer

Apr 17, 2014

It's not uncommon these days to find a colored ribbon representing a disease. A pink ribbon is well known to signify breast cancer. But what color ribbon does one think of with lung cancer?

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.