Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Clues to pregnancy-associated breast cancer found

30.03.2010
Expression of inflammatory-related genes in breast tissue of women who have previously given birth may explain the aggressiveness and frequency of pregnancy-associated breast cancer, according to new research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Pregnancy at a relatively young age reduces the risk of breast cancer over the long term, but epidemiological studies have found that women are at an increased risk for breast cancer during pregnancy and for up to 10 years after giving birth, said Debra Tonetti, associate professor of pharmacology and lead researcher on the study.

These pregnancy-associated breast cancers also carry an unusually high risk of spreading to nearby organs and for lethality as compared to breast cancers in women who have never been pregnant, she said.

Tonetti and her research team examined the level of expression of 64 genes in tissue from benign breast biopsies and breast-reduction surgeries at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago. The women, who were between the ages of 18 and 45, were divided into three categories: those who had never been pregnant, those who had been pregnant within the past two years, and those who had been pregnant five to 10 years previously.

The set of examined genes included genes known to be related to immunity and inflammation, extracellular matrix remodeling, angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels vital to wound healing) or hormone signaling.

Twenty-two percent of the examined genes showed significant difference in expression in the breast tissue of women who had never given birth compared with those who had. Inflammation-related genes, as a class, were more active in women who had borne a child. Involution -- the process by which the breast returns to normal following lactation -- could be a cause of the inflammation, she said.

"Our results showed an increase in immune/inflammatory activity in the post-pregnant breast," Tonetti said. "Interestingly, this response was not limited to the recently pregnant group, but also characterized more distant pregnancies as well."

A surprising finding was evidence of a protective effect of pregnancy as well, since the expression of many hormone and growth factor signaling genes suggests protection. These findings indicate that a balance between high risk inflammatory and protective hormone signaling gene expression may ultimately determine a woman's individual breast cancer risk, she said.

The researchers were not only interested in determining whether pregnancy and involution are associated with gene expression changes in the normal breast, but whether such changes stay for a short period of time or are permanent, Tonetti said.

The study is among the first to use samples from normal breast tissue to determine whether there is a time-dependent effect on breast cancer risk, she said.

The results will help understand the mechanisms behind pregnancy-associated breast cancer and will indicate potentially effective prevention strategies for women at high risk, such as use of anti-inflammatory agents. In addition, more effective therapeutic approaches may be developed based on the specific molecular pathways involved, Tonetti said.

The findings are published in the March issue of the journal Cancer Prevention Research. The study was funded through a grant from Avon Products Foundation.

Other authors, all from UIC, include Szilard Asztalos and Megan Hayes of the department of biopharmaceutical sciences; Peter Gann, Larisa Nonn and Elizabeth Wiley of the department of pathology; Craig Beam of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics; and Yang Dai of the department of bioengineering.

Sam Hostettler | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uic.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>