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Obesity can Increase Breast Cancer Risk in Women

Updated at: Nov 21, 2013
Written by: Agency NewsPublished at: Nov 21, 2013
Obesity can Increase Breast Cancer Risk in Women

Women who are obese face an increased risk of developing an aggressive sub-type of breast cancer known as 'basal-like', scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have found.

As if being obese harmed us less, a new research has given the women one more reason for not gaining too much weight. Obese women are at an increased risk of developing an aggressive sub-type of breast cancer known as “basal-like”.

Disadvantages of ObesityScientists, one of Indian origin, at the University of Carolina observed that obesity radically modifies the cellular micro environment of mammary glands in some ways that are favourable for the growth of basal-like tumours.

In around 15-20 per cent women diagnosed with breast cancer, basal-like subtype of cancer is found. The percentage of cases is high among young and African-American women. Women diagnosed with the basal-like subtype often have a poor prognosis and cannot be treated with hormonal and targeted therapies.

The biological mechanisms where obesity can create a favourable environment for the growth of basal-like breast cancer tumours were outlined by a team led by Liza Makowski, assistant professor with the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Sneha Sundaram, a post-doctoral fellow in the Makowski Lab.

"Obesity is widespread and is one of the few risk factors for breast cancer that we may be able to control, hence our intention in this study was to better understand the molecular rmechanisms and/or biomarkers of obesity-related basal like breast cancer that could impact disease prevention," said Makowski.

Makowski said that whether weight loss can minimise breast cancer risk in already obese patients is an area that needs further investigation. The study was published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.


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