Promising breast cancer research
October is an important month to shine a light on cancer research and to raise money that contributes to research projects, salaries to researchers and the spread of knowledge about cancer and how to detect it. Therefore, we will highlight promising research in breast cancer detection and prevention via a perspective from precision medicine.
The most common form of cancer
In 2021, breast cancer became the most common form of cancer when it overtook lung cancer which held first place, according to statistics from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (1).
To prevent cancer
There are several factors that affect your individual risk of breast cancer such as genetics, being born female, family history, race, ethnicity, breast density and random bad luck. However, the results of a recent article published in the Lancet show that 44.4% of cancer deaths can be attributed to lifestyle-related indicators such as occupational, environmental and behavioral risks, as well as metabolic factors (2).
Research on cancer genes (3)
New research from researchers at, among others, the Karolinska Institutet (4) gives hope of being able to develop new ways to alleviate and cure certain forms of breast cancer. A genetic mutation in the BRCA gene increases the risk of developing an aggressive form of cancer that mainly affects young women. This triple-negative breast cancer is characterized by its lack of three types of receptors on the cell’s surface, which makes target-specific drug interactions even more difficult and thus poses a greater treatment challenge for healthcare.
This new research (which needs greater clinical validation) aims to facilitate the earlier identification of women at risk who could benefit from preventive medical treatment options. In addition, it has been investigated how the drug mifepristone could reduce changes linked to an increased risk of cancer in healthy women’s breasts.
In summary, the above could help women detect mutations earlier and lead to a faster clinical implementation of preventive treatments, the aim of which is to reduce the risk of developing aggressive forms of breast cancer.
- IARC. (2021). Press Release N 294, Available online: https://www.iarc.who.int/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/pr294_E.pdf [Accessed 4 July 2022]
- Sarfati, D., & Gurney, J. (2022). Preventing Cancer: the Only Way Forward, The Lancet, vol. 400, No.10352, pp.540-541, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(22)01430-1 [Accessed 27 September 2022]
- 3. Bartlett, E., Evans, I., Jones, A. et al. (2022). Antiprogestins reduce epigenetic field cancerization in breast tissue of young healthy women, Genome Med, Vol.14, nr.64, Available online: https://doi.org/10.1186/s13073-022-01063-5 [Accessed 4 July 2022]
- Karolinska Institutet. (2022). Ny forskning ger hopp om att minska risken för aggressiv bröstcancer, available online: https://nyheter.ki.se/ny-forskning-ger-hopp-om-att-minska-risken-for-aggressiv-brostcancer [Accessed 28 September 2022]