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Women with BRCA1 gene may be monitored for breast cancer risk, study finds UK News

Women with the inherited defective BRCA1 gene, also known as the “Angelina Jolie gene”, could be closely monitored for their breast cancer risk and potentially avoid drastic surgery, the research suggests.

The study found that women who carry the gene might be able to take the drug mifepristone to slow cell turnover that puts them at risk for triple-negative breast cancer.

Mifepristone works by blocking the effects of progesterone and is used for medical abortions where pills are taken to end the pregnancy.

According to the NHS, women with the defective BRCA1 gene have a 65-79% lifetime risk of breast cancer and a 36-53% risk of ovarian cancer before the age of 80.

The new research, published in Genome Medicine, was funded by the European Research Council and gynecological cancer charity Eve Appeal.

Times Series: Study Claims Mifepristone Helps Block Effects of Progesterone (PA)Study claims mifepristone helps block effects of progesterone (PA)

During the study, researchers led by Professor Martin Widschwendter from the University of Innsbruck (LFUI) and University College London (UCL) discovered a “signature” of markers on DNA (called methylation DNA) that can indicate and help monitor breast cancer risk. .

The researchers used the WID-Breast29 test on samples taken from the breasts of women with and without BRCA gene alterations, all of whom were taking low-dose mifepristone.

All of the women without the gene were found to have lower levels of progesterone – which is believed to help drive breast cancer to high levels – and cell turnover.

The effect was also seen in about three-quarters of women with an altered BRCA gene.

Experts hope those women with the defective gene could be targeted with mifepristone to slow their risk of developing breast cancer and keep their progesterone levels lower.

In turn, this could mean that they could delay or potentially avoid the need for a mastectomy.

Currently, women with the BRCA1 gene can choose to have both breasts removed to reduce their cancer risk – which Jolie chose when she was discovered.

Times Series: Jolie opted for surgery when she found out she had inherited the gene from her mother (PA)Jolie chose to have surgery when she discovered she had inherited the gene from her mother (PA)

Professor Widschwendter said: “Progesterone is implicated in the development of breast cancers with the worst prognoses.

“In the research published today, we assessed progesterone levels each day over an entire menstrual cycle and demonstrated that progesterone levels are significantly higher in carriers of the BRCA1 mutation; being a carrier of this mutation confers a high risk of developing breast cancer with a poor prognosis.

“Most importantly, we have shown that drugs that neutralize progesterone activity can reduce the cellular changes that cause cancer to develop in normal breast tissue in young women.

“We’re really excited about the prospects these findings open up for better breast cancer prevention.”

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This notice was published: 2022-06-15 05:37:06

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