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Study shows gene variations may predict risk of breast cancer in women
Date:5/2/2008

CHICAGO According to a recent study, led by Virginia Kaklamani, MD, an oncologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and assistant professor of medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, variations of the adiponectin gene, which regulates a number of metabolic processes, may increase a womans risk of developing breast cancer. This discovery is an important step forward in cancer genetics research, as it could help experts develop a future genetic testing model to more accurately predict a womans risk of developing breast cancer.

Dr. Kaklamanis research, which is published in the May 1 issue of Cancer Research, suggests some women are born with different characteristics in the adiponectin gene which can alter its function and increase the risk of breast cancer. This finding, coupled with previous studies that have found a correlation between low levels of adiponectin in the body and cancer risk, suggest adiponectin may be the third gene linked to breast cancer among women with no previous family history of breast cancer. If confirmed through additional studies, adiponectin could be used along with TGF-beta and CHEK2, genes that have already been linked to breast cancer, to create a genetic testing model that will allow clinicians to more accurately predict breast cancer risk.

Clinicians currently rely on epidemiologic models to predict breast cancer risk. The most common is the GAIL model, which looks at a number of factors including a womans current age, the age she began menstruating, her age at menopause, age of first live birth, previous biopsies and family history.

All we know is that one in eight women will get breast cancer somehow, for some reason, says Dr. Kaklamani. One explanation for this is genetic background, and the adiponectin gene is one that may be responsible. By pinpointing which genes are associated with breast cancer risk, we can better predict risk, and ultimately may be able to enhanc
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Contact: Kimberly Arndt
karndt@nmh.org
312-926-6503
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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