- Save the date: Cancerkin Hampstead Heath Walk
- Study shows why women with denser breast tissue have an increased risk of developing breast cancer
- A recent study has shown a link between obesity and breast cancer risk in men
Save the date: Cancerkin Hampstead Heath Walk
This year, Cancerkin’s annual walk will take place on Sunday 8th June on Hampstead Heath. The change of location follows a suggestion from our Chairman that, as we are based right on the Heath’s doorstep, we should use our local green space! As the terrain of the Heath is more challenging than the paths of Hyde Park the walk will be shortened to ensure that all who want to take part can.
Official invitations will be sent out closer to the date, but if you’re interested in taking part do contact us so we can ensure you get all information on this year’s walk. We welcome teams, so start talking to your friends/colleagues/teammates/fellow club members (delete as appropriate!) about taking part together! To register interest for individuals and teams, contact Holly on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0207 830 2323.
Study shows why women with denser breast tissue have an increased risk of developing breast cancer
Scientists at the University of Manchester may have found a key biological mechanism which explains for the first time why women with dense breast tissue have a greater risk of developing breast cancer.
Women with higher breast density have more compacted breast tissue and have a higher risk of developing breast cancer than women with less dense breasts. However, the reasons for this have not previously been known.
By using fibroblasts (a type of structural cell) from high density breast tissue to generate a “molecular signature”, scientists found that a cell communication network called JNK1 presented more activity in fibroblasts from high density breast tissue than lower density breast tissue. Cells are instructed by JNK1 to release chemicals that cause inflammation. This then can encourage the formation of tumours.
It is therefore hoped these findings can lead to improvements in prevention methods by using drugs that target the JNK1 network, and block it from communicating with cells.
Prof. Michael Lisanti, from the University of Manchester, said: “We know that high breast density can greatly increase a woman’s breast cancer risk as well as other factors such as aging, family history and presence of mutations in genes such as BRCA 1 and BRCA 2.
“What no one has fully appreciated before are the underpinning mechanisms at play. Using a bioinformatics approach, we have identified the relevant signalling pathways that make dense breast tissue more favourable for tumour formation.
“This signalling pathway could be used as a biomarker to identify women at higher risk of breast cancer more accurately and earlier than the current methods. Furthermore, there are drugs out there that block these pathways, so that these women could be offered effective chemoprevention.”
For more information, please see Medical News Today and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
A recent study has shown a link between obesity and breast cancer risk in men
Male breast cancer is relative rare, with approximately 400 men diagnosed each year. Because of this, the causes of male breast cancer are poorly understood.
As with female breast cancers, genetic factors can be involved in males developing breast cancer, although there have also been indications that certain physical and hormonal factors are linked to risk. However, due to the relatively limited patient numbers in individual studies, the influence these factors have has remained uncertain. The Male Breast Cancer Pooling Project therefore brings together results from multiple studies being carried out across the world looking to look for causes of the disease. This has allowed scientists to combine their data and be far more conclusive in what increases male breast cancer risk.
The latest findings, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), found that men who were obese were 30% more likely to develop breast cancer. They also found that Klinefelter syndrome, where men have an extra X chromosome, also increased breast cancer risk.
Professor Anthony Swerdlow, Professor of Epidemiology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and lead of the UK arm of the study, said: “This research brings together data from studies of male breast cancer from around the world to clarify risk factors that have been uncertain. The results suggest that men who are overweight may be at increased risk of male breast cancer.
“We know that body size can be related to hormone levels. Also, hormonal factors may be the reason why patients with Klinefelter syndrome, who have comparatively low levels of testosterone and high levels of oestrogen, have raised breast cancer risks compared with other men. Our results suggest the need to investigate further the role of sex hormones in causation of breast cancer in men.”
Dr Matthew Lam, Senior Research Officer at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, added:
“We know that hormonal factors play a large part in increasing risk of breast cancer in women but how these factors affect risk in men is not well understood. This study provides new insight into the contributing role of sex hormone levels and physical conditions that control them in male breast cancer. Exploring this relationship further will be a next step for the Male Breast Cancer Pooling Project.”
For more information, please see Breakthrough Breast Cancer.