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Progress made in understanding breast cancer risk
Date:8/3/2011

ORLANDO, Fla. August 3, 2011 A woman's ethnicity as well as her genetic makeup are two of the main risk factors for hereditary breast cancer. Research into understanding and treating hereditary breast cancer will be presented today at the Era of Hope conference, a scientific meeting hosted by the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP).

About 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary, resulting from defective genes inherited from a parent. The most common cause of hereditary breast cancer is an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene; the risk may be as high as 85 percent for members of some families with these mutations.1 And while White women are more likely to develop breast cancer, African American women are more likely to die from the disease, partly because African Americans have more aggressive tumors. Studies presented at Era of Hope explore the genes that contribute to breast cancer risk in African Americans, and the possibility that vitamin D intake might help mitigate it in this population. Other studies look at how daughters of women with BRCA 1 or BRCA2 mutations manage their own risk of breast cancer, and how the identification of a particular gene might lead to treatment for the very deadly triple-negative breast cancer.

"Some women are born with a greater risk of developing more aggressive forms of breast cancer," said Captain Melissa Kaime, M.D., Director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), under which the BCRP is managed. "Research presented at the Era of Hope provides new insights into the specific gene mutations that lead to this risk, enabling us to develop targeted treatments and to better assist those women to manage their inherited predisposition to the disease."

Toward Understanding Genetic Susceptibility for Breast Cancer in Women of African Ancestry
Principal Investigator: Christopher Haiman, ScD, Univer
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Contact: Dayna Hochstein
dhochstein@spectrumscience.com
202-955-6222
US Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs
Source:Eurekalert

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