Breast cancer etiology may vary by subtype

May 21, 2009

Women's reproductive and lifestyle characteristics can be linked to different invasive breast cancer subtypes. Data on 2544 breast cancer cases, presented in the open access journal Breast Cancer Research, suggests that traditional risk factors for development of the condition are associated with different kinds of tumor.

Marilyn Kwan from Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, California, led a team of researchers who used data from the LACE (Life After ) and Pathways studies to investigate the characteristics of women with different breast cancer subtypes: luminal A, luminal B, triple negative and Her2-overexpressing. She said, "These varying associations by subtype lend further support to the growing evidence base that breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease defined by estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and Her2 expression with distinct etiologic pathways and prognoses".

The researchers found that patients with luminal B tumors were generally younger at diagnosis than those with luminal A and were less likely to consume alcohol, use HRT or use . Compared to luminal A cases, triple negative cases tended to be African American, younger at diagnosis and overweight/obese if premenopausal. Her2-overexpressing cases were also more likely to be seen in younger patients than luminal A cases and were more likely to be Hispanic or Asian.

Kwan concludes, "Future research should focus on refinement of tumor subtypes in order to best elucidate how the risk factors may vary. Important modifiable factors that may be related to the development of specific tumor subtypes include obesity in the case of triple negative cancers and alcohol consumption for luminal B tumors".

More information: Epidemiology of breast cancer subtypes in two prospective cohort studies of breast cancer survivors, Marilyn L Kwan, Lawrence H Kushi, Erin Weltzien, Benjamin Maring, Susan E Kutner, Regan S Fulton, Marion M Lee, Christine B Ambrosone and Bette J Caan, Research (in press), http://breast-cancer-research.com/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Researchers develop test that can diagnose two cancer types

December 12, 2017
A blood test using infrared spectroscopy can be used to diagnose two types of cancer, lymphoma and melanoma, according to a study led by Georgia State University.

Atoh1, a potential Achilles' heel of Sonic Hedgehog medulloblastoma

December 12, 2017
Medulloblastoma is the most common type of solid brain tumor in children. Current treatments offer limited success and may leave patients with severe neurological side effects, including psychiatric disorders, growth retardation ...

Cancer-causing mutation suppresses immune system around tumours

December 12, 2017
Mutations in 'Ras' genes, which drive 25% of human cancers by causing tumour cells to grow, multiply and spread, can also protect cancer cells from the immune system, finds a new study from the Francis Crick Institute and ...

Drug suppresses spread of breast cancer caused by stem-like cells

December 12, 2017
Rare stem-like tumor cells play a critical role in the spread of breast cancer, but a vulnerability in the pathway that powers them offers a strategy to target these cells using existing drugs before metastatic disease occurs, ...

MRI scans predict patients' ability to fight the spread of cancer

December 12, 2017
A simple, non-invasive procedure that can indicate how long patients with cancer that has spread to the brain might survive and whether they are likely to respond to immunotherapy has been developed by researchers in Liverpool.

Scientists discover possible master switch for programming cancer immunotherapy

December 11, 2017
During infection or tumor growth, a type of specialized white blood cells called CD8+ T cells rapidly multiply within the spleen and lymph nodes and acquire the ability to kill diseased cells. Some of these killer T cells ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.