Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study refines breast cancer risks

13.02.2002


Increasing age is the strongest risk factor for breast cancer
© SPL


Large scale study spells out links with pregnancy and miscarriage.

Childless women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, confirms one of the largest studies on reproductive factors and the disease, but those who suffer miscarriages are not. Researchers are pinning down key risk factors in the hope of working out exactly how they increase susceptibility.

How pregnancy and abortion alter women’s chance of developing breast cancer has been the subject of conflicting reports. A new French study has tracked 90,000 women, aged 40-65, since 1990 and goes some way to clarifying these risks.



Unlike previous work, the report separately calculates how each factor alters risk in both pre- and post-menopausal women. Most significantly, the team found no link between miscarriage and risk of the cancer in pre- or post-menopausal women. This contrasts with previous surveys suggesting a link with induced abortion.

Specialists no longer accept the proposed link to abortion, says breast cancer researcher Mads Medley of the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark. Older studies asked women to recall their abortion history at the time of their diagnosis, which influenced how likely they were to recall such incidents: "You introduce a bias," he explains.

Clavel-Chapelon’s study was prospective - detailed questionnaires were sent out before the onset of cancer and without knowing who would develop the disease. This means that women’s answers were more likely to be unbiased. Eliminating spontaneous abortion as a risk factor "is nice to know," says Medley.

The new study offers "far stronger data in terms of blowing that theory away", agrees Gordon McVie, joint director-general of Cancer Research UK. The study’s three other main findings support previous evidence: that overall breast cancer risk increases the later a woman has her first child, the fewer children she bears and the earlier she starts her periods1.

A woman whose periods began at age 15 is at two-thirds the risk of one who started at 11 or earlier, find Francoise Clavel-Chapelon of the Gustave-Roussy Institute in Villejuif and her team.

But all the variations in risk are small, points out cancer researcher Robin Weiss of University College London and editor of the British Journal of Cancer, which is publishing the work. "They’re very powerful data, but they’re not huge differences," he says.

Increasing age is the strongest risk factor for breast cancer: the older a woman, the more likely she is to develop the disease. Overall, 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop the cancer in their lives; 1 in 9 in Britain.

Immediate impact?

The study is likely to have little immediate impact: women cannot change their reproductive cycle and are unlikely to alter decisions about whether to have children. "It’s difficult to turn it into prevention," admits Clavel-Chapelon.

Instead, scientists hope to work out exactly what happens in the breast during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. When breast tissue prepares for milk production, it may switch on certain genes that are protective; so identifying these genes might lead to treatments. "We can go all the way from looking at populations to looking at molecules in cells," says Weiss.

With this in mind, DNA samples from many of the women in the project have already been collected and stored. The study is part of a bigger international effort to identify other lifestyle factors - such as diet and use of hormone replacement therapy - that may affect risk. "Large studies have the power to dissect these out," says McVie.

References

  1. Clavel-Chapelon, F. and the E3N-EPIC Group Differential effects of reproductive factors on the risk of pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer. Results from a large cohort of French women. British Journal of Cancer, DOI 10.1038/sj/bjc/6600124, (2002).


HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service
Further information:
http://www.nature.com/nsu/020211/020211-8.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New leukemia treatment offers hope
23.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

nachricht Alzheimer’s: Cellular Mechanism Provides Explanation Model for Declining Memory Performance
21.09.2016 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

Im Focus: New laser joining technologies at ‘K 2016’ trade fair

Every three years, the plastics industry gathers at K, the international trade fair for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will also be attending again and presenting many innovative technologies, such as for joining plastics and metals using ultrashort pulse lasers. From October 19 to 26, you can find the Fraunhofer ILT at the joint Fraunhofer booth SC01 in Hall 7.

K is the world’s largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. As in previous years, the organizers are expecting 3,000 exhibitors and more than...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

Using mathematical models to understand our brain

16.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

New leukemia treatment offers hope

23.09.2016 | Health and Medicine

Self-assembled nanostructures hit their target

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>