Released as an advance online publication in the “Breast Cancer Research and Treatment” journal, the work can help, not only in the early detection and treatment of the disease, but also gives a better understanding of the mechanisms behind it.
DNA repair genes, as the name indicates, repair damaged DNA in a process crucial for cancer prevention. In fact, all over the body genetic mutations are constantly occurring and being fixed through several DNA repair mechanisms and so avoid the accumulation of harmful mutations that can ultimately lead to cancer. As consequence it has been suggested that problems in the body’s DNA repair mechanisms/genes can facilitate the development of cancer.
Following this idea, Sandra Costa, Fernando Schmitt and colleagues in Portugal and Spain, decided to test if it was possible to correlate different forms of four major DNA repair genes existent in the human population to different susceptibilities to breast cancer. In fact, different individuals can present small differences in the DNA sequence of a gene, as it happens, for example, with the gene for eye colour where the variations give origin to the different colours. These different DNA sequences appear as result of mutations and are called genetic polymorphisms.
For this study Costa, Schmitt and colleagues analysed 285 breast cancer patients and 442 healthy controls looking at several genetic polymorphisms in four major DNA repair genes - XRCC1, XPD, RAD51 and XRCC3 - and their relationship with breast cancer incidence.
It was found that women carrying the genetic polymorphism XRCC1 399Gln and who had no family history of breast cancer, had not only less disease than healthy controls, but it was also found that disease, when it occurred, started later in life. This result suggested that XRCC1 399Gln had a protective effect against breast cancer.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, a genetic polymorphism in the XRCC3 gene - XRCC3 241Met - increased susceptibility to the disease and accelerated disease onset. Again this was only observed in women without a family history of breast cancer.
Finally, the team of researchers found that the polymorphism RAD51 135C increased the risk of breast cancer, this time in the group of women that belonged to families with previous cases of the disease. Variations in the fourth gene studied – XPD – did not show any effect in the incidence of breast cancer at least among the groups and the polymorphisms analysed in this work
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among women. According to the World Health Organization every year more than 1 million of people will be diagnosed worldwide with the disease, while 1 in 8 women will develop it during their lifetime. Nevertheless, nowadays, a diagnostic of breast cancer has a relatively good prognosis much due to the development of disease awareness and frequent screenings among women - especially those belonging to higher risk groups - allowing earlier detection (and treatment) of the disease
The work by Costa, Schmitt and colleagues, by suggesting that XRCC1 Arg399Gln, XRCC3 Thr241Met and RAD51 G135C can be used as markers for different cancer susceptibilities, helps not only to elucidate the mechanisms behind disease, but can be also crucial in the early identification of those high risk cases. These are interesting results for breast cancer, which by being the result of a complex interaction of inherited as well as environmental factors is still far from being understood and/or controlled.Piece researched and written by: Catarina Amorim
Catarina Amorim | alfa
Magic number colloidal clusters
13.12.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Record levels of mercury released by thawing permafrost in Canadian Arctic
13.12.2018 | University of Alberta
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
13.12.2018 | Life Sciences
13.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2018 | Earth Sciences