Blow for hair link to breast cancer

The promising link between certain properties in human hair which could have potentially helped in diagnosis of breast cancer is “dubious” according to research published today in the Institute of Physics journal, Physics in Medicine and Biology. Dr Mark Sutton of the McGill University in Canada and colleagues have found no clear association between peaks seen in what is known as small angle x-ray scattering and the risk of breast cancer, as had been reported previously in the journal Nature (James et al.,1999).

Work published in 1999 reported the possibility of using small angle x-ray scattering from hair to detect breast cancer. Small angle x-ray scattering gives information on the microscopic structure of materials on the nanometre (a millionth of a millimetre) to the micrometre (a thousandth of a millimetre) scale. Human hair comes in different colours and textures and has a complicated structure made up of many parts. This structure can differ from one individual to another, but although much is already known about these differences, the structure of hair is neither completely measured nor completely understood.

“The idea that there could be a correlation between breast cancer and the structure of hair did seem surprising as their biochemistries are completely different, but such a link could have been very important,” said Dr Mark Sutton.

In the original research the presence or absence of a particular peak in the scattering was said to show that the patient either had breast cancer or was susceptible to it. Such a link could have led to a relatively simple test for breast cancer. Also, an understanding of a possible link between the structure of hair and breast cancer could have given a unique insight into the mechanisms of cancer.

Dr Sutton and his team looked again for the link between human hair and breast cancer by measuring small angle x-ray scattering patterns on 56 patients who were known to either have breast cancer or not. This `fully-blinded` test looked for a particular peak in the scattering and measured its intensity.
Their results showed no clear association between small angle x-ray scattering and the risk of breast cancer. The measurements were performed at the Advanced Proton Source in Argonne, Illinois, USA.*

“Looking at the original results, we thought that their link between hair structure and breast cancer might be some kind of genetic factor, as there are numerous genetic causes of abnormal hair structure. Instead, it looks at though no correlation exists at all, which is disappointing,” said Dr Sutton.
* This work was supported by an IDEA grant from the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Institute.

Media Contact

Alice Bows alphagalileo

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Health and Medicine

This subject area encompasses research and studies in the field of human medicine.

Among the wide-ranging list of topics covered here are anesthesiology, anatomy, surgery, human genetics, hygiene and environmental medicine, internal medicine, neurology, pharmacology, physiology, urology and dental medicine.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

Key breakthrough towards on-site cancer diagnosis

No stain? No sweat: Terahertz waves can image early-stage breast cancer without staining. A team of researchers at Osaka University, in collaboration with the University of Bordeaux and the Bergonié…

A CNIO team describes how a virus can cause diabetes

It has recently been described that infection by some enteroviruses – a genus of viruses that commonly cause diseases of varying severity – could potentially trigger diabetes, although its direct…

Targeting the shell of the Ebola virus

UD research team looking at ways to destabilize virus, knock it out with antivirals. As the world grapples with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, another virus has been raging again in…

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.