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Researchers Find Potential Link Between Drinking Alcohol And Breast Cancer
Date:4/23/2012

ered ethanol to separate cultures of mammary epithelial cells that had varying levels of CYP2E1. Cells that expressed low levels of CYP2E1 were mostly immune to the effects of the ethanol treatment; however, cells with increased amounts of CYP2E1 protein were greatly affected, suggesting that women with higher expression levels of the protein would show similar responses.

Significantly, points out Rodriguez-Fragoso, "our results showed that ethanol-treated human mammary cells had an increase in free radical production, oxidative stress and the activation of cellular mechanisms that cause cells to increase their proliferation rate," all hallmarks of cancer. "So if you are a woman who naturally expresses higher levels of CYP2E1 and you consume alcohol, you would be at a greater risk for developing breast cancer than a woman who expresses lower amounts of CYP2E1," she explains.

A few months ago, the group started investigating CYP2E1 expression levels in breast tissue obtained from healthy women who had undergone mammaplasties. "Preliminary results show that there is great variability in the expression of this enzyme among the analyzed samples," says Rodriguez-Fragoso. "This means that each individual will have a different response to alcohol, and each should take different precautions to minimize their risk of developing breast cancer."

With these results in hand, Rodriguez-Fragoso expressed confidence that her group will be able to develop a method of diagnosis that would focus on the determination of expression levels of CYP2E1 in breast tissue. "If you know the risk probability of certain behaviors on your likelihood of developing cancer, then you can better understand what preventative measures you should be taking," she emphasizes.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that breast cancer will be responsible for nearly 40,000 deaths this year alone, with an additional 220,000 diagnoses. "If we can prevent the developme
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SOURCE American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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