Linking diet and hormone exposure to breast cancer risk

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One-and-a-half million people worldwide were diagnosed with breast cancer last
year. In the UK, it is the most common form of cancer. Many studies have tried
to find the regions of the
genome that are associated with breast cancer risk, yet so far only a small
proportion of inherited cancers can be explained. A report

in the latest issue of Genome Medicine
identifies two genomic regions linked to breast cancer risk.

Ross
Prentice
and colleagues
from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
, Seattle, combined environmental information (such
as diet and history of hormone treatment) with genotype information for breast
cancer, both obtained from the Women’s Health Initiative
(WHI) clinical trial. They found that, by taking both types of
information into account, the significance of certain mutations (single
nucleotide polymorphisms) for postmenopausal breast cancer risk changed.

The team
identified two genomic regions associated with risk of breast cancer: the
fibroblast growth factor receptor two (FGFR2) and the mitochondrial
ribosomal protein S30 (MRPS30) regions. These findings are likely to
lead to further investigations of regions close to the MRPS30 and FGFR2
genes to understand the link between the effects of hormonal and dietary
exposures and postmenopausal breast cancer risk. This approach of combining
environmental and genotype information will aid the search for regions linked
to increased risk of other diseases.