Gene and lower breast cancer risk
Specific genetic variation in a cytokine gene is associated with lower breast cancer risk as per the new research findings presented at the 2nd ESMO Scientific & Educational Conference (ESEC) in Budapest, Hungary.The data was presented by Uwe Langsenlehner and colleagues from Medical University Graz in Austria. They studied the cytokine IL 10, which is involved in various cellular activities. Cytokines in general are the signaling molecules of the cells that send signals between cells.
"In breast cancer risk, IL-10 may be a two-edged sword," Dr. Langsenlehner said. "On one hand, higher IL-10 levels could facilitate development of cancer by supporting tumor escape from the immune response. On the other hand, the anti-angiogenic effects of IL-10 are supposed to prevent or reduce tumor growth and spread."
These researchers examined a particular genetic arrangement, or haplotype, in the promoter region of the gene, which has been associated with increased IL-10 expression. The researchers call this the TCATA haplotype.
In a study involving 500 women with breast cancer compared against 500 healthy controls, they found that breast cancer patients were significantly less likely to have two versions of the TCATA haplotype.
"Our study suggests that high levels of IL-10 may be protective against breast cancer," Dr. Langsenlehner said. "The mechanism for this remains to be determined, but may likely include anti-angiogenic functions of IL-10. If this result can be confirmed in additional studies, determination of IL 10 genotypes may help to obtain a more precise individual breast cancer risk profile."