Published: Wed, October 25, 2017
Health Care | By Gwendolyn Kim

Breast cancer linked to bacteria

Breast cancer linked to bacteria

"This work helps us to understand why some women are more at risk of developing breast cancer than others and what genetic markers we should be looking for in order to assess that risk", Professor Chenevix-Trench said.

However the discovery of 73 new genes not known about previously now put the total contribution of our genes to a breast cancer diagnosis at 18 per cent.

The American Cancer Society estimated nearly 500 men will die from breast cancer in 2017. Doctors hope the new information released from a study by an global team of 550 researchers help them understand the genetic role of the disease.

With what the medical community already knows about BRCA1, BRCA2, other variants, plus the newly identified genes, it's estimated that about 39 percent of heritable ER-positive breast cancer risk can be explained, researchers said. A team at the Cleveland Clinic found differences in the types and amounts of bacteria between cancerous and non-cancerous breast tissue.

The newly identified risk regions almost double the number that are already known, thereby bringing the number of known common variants associated with breast cancer to around 180.

Doctors think they've found a link between breast cancer and the bacteria in our bodies.

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Read the full ER-negative study in Nature Genetics. We have patients that have come here that have been diagnosed with breast cancer and they are our friends and family.

However, not all cancer cells carry this receptor - these are known as oestrogen-receptor negative.

"These findings add significantly to our understanding of the inherited basis of breast cancer as well as identifying new genetic variants, we have also confirmed many that we had previously suspected", study investigator Doug Easton of the University of Cambridge said.

Early detection and aggressive treatments have seen a decline in deaths from the disease, with survival rates now at around 90 percent after five years. Vitamin D levels also have a significant bearing on the development of breast cancer, "Higher blood levels of vitamin D are associated with a lower risk of breast cancer compared to women with low levels of the vitamin. That is when it is curable and we have more treatment options if found early", McCain said. QIMR Berghofer senior researcher Jonathan Beesley said researchers now knew much more about the genetic mechanisms that might cause breast cancer.

Another seven genetic variants predisposed women specifically to oestrogen-receptor negative breast cancer, which often had a poorer prognosis because it did not respond to standard drugs such as Tamoxifen.

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