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Pregnancy exposures determine risk of breast cancer in multiple generations of offspring
Date:9/11/2012

t and excess estrogens may help explain some of those cases and link them to inherited epigenetic changes.

"We know from human studies that daughters whose mothers took the synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) to reduce pregnancy complications, or who had a birth weight of more than 8.8 pounds are at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Our study suggests their offspring may also be at risk," Hilakivi-Clarke says.

"This study suggests directions for future research in women. Could a woman's susceptibility to breast cancer development be determined by what her grandmother ate when she was pregnant, or if she was exposed to high levels of estrogen perhaps unwittingly, through the environment?" asks de Assis.

The researchers add that there is potential good news epigenetic inheritance of breast cancer risk might be detectable through blood testing, and that, in particular, the adverse effects of an exposure to excess estrogen in utero is, possibly, reversible.

"Our on-going preclinical studies have found that the increase in breast cancer risk caused by in utero exposure to excess estrogens can be reversed by drugs that reverse epigenetic marks chemical modifications that turns genes on and off caused by the exposure . These drugs, called HDAC and DNMT inhibitors, are being used, with success, in humans to treat some cancers," Hilakivi-Clarke says. Hilakivi-Clarke is one of the inventors on Georgetown University-owned HDAC inhibitor and DNMT inhibitor patents.

"It's easy to see how this study possibly has human health implications to be considered since fatty foods are endemic in our society, and low levels of chronic exposure to endocrine disruptors substances that have hormonal activity such as estrogen have been found in food and drinking water," says de Assis.


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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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