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Scientists find link between estrogen metabolism pathway and breast cancer risk
Date:7/6/2010

Scientists at the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), a biomedical research institute of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), and the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, recently discovered that DNA polymorphisms related to the production of estrogen play an important role in the development of hormone-sensitive breast and endometrial cancer. The knowledge gained may help develop better measures for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer.

This study is the most comprehensive genetic research of the estrogen metabolism pathway involving 7577 participants from Sweden and Finland. It is able to overcome many limitations of previous studies which usually investigated a limited number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs ) within some candidate genes through single SNP analysis, often in a moderate number of study subjects, leading to inconsistent results across different studies.

Led by GIS Executive Director Prof Edison Liu, GIS Senior Group Leader Dr Liu Jianjun and Prof Per Hall, Medical Director of the Karolinska Institutet, the finding was published in PLoS Genetics on July 1, 2010.

"Previous studies have typically looked at single genes and have produced inconsistent results. Genes work together in complex networks. By using a systematic approach to interrogate the network of genes that affects hormonal exposure and hence risk of breast and endometrial cancers, we found a small group of genes which works together to affect cancer risk," said first author, Dr Low Yen Ling. "The results of this study has moved us one step closer to understanding the common pathways which are involved in the development of breast cancer and endometrial cancer." Dr Low, who was involved in this research while she was at the GIS, is currently a Clinical Scientist at the Abbott Asia-Pacific Nutrition Research & Development Center.

Similarly, Prof Edison Liu said, "This research raises the possibility of having
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Contact: Winnie Serah Lim
limcp2@gis.a-star.edu.sg
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

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