-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Newly identified genetic
variations may help predict which women will respond to breast
cancer prevention therapy, a new study suggests.
By determining who would and would not receive possible benefit
from two preventive drugs, women who aren't likely to respond could
be spared the treatment and its side effects, the study authors
Researchers examined data on women enrolled in two large breast
cancer prevention trials, including 592 women who had developed
cancer along with 1,171 similar women who did not.
The investigators found that women with a favorable genetic
variation (called a "single nucleotide polymorphism" or SNP) in the
gene ZNF423 and another near the gene CTSO were more likely to
respond to prevention therapy with tamoxifen and raloxifene.
Women with unfavorable variations of these SNPs may not benefit
from prevention therapy and have a five-fold increased risk of
developing breast cancer, according to the study published June 13
in the journal
"The recent guidelines by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force emphasize that ... therapy with tamoxifen and raloxifene can lower a woman's risk for developing breast cancer. But about 50 women have to be exposed to the treatment and side effects to prevent a single case of breast cancer," study author Dr. James Ingle, a professor of oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in a journal news release.
"Our findings are important, because for the first time, we discovered genetic factors that could be used to select women who should be offered the drugs for prevention. Also of substantial importance is that we have discovered new information on how tamoxifen and raloxifene work to prevent breast cancer," he added.
"Findings from our study provide clear direction as to which women are likely and which are unlikely to benefit from tamoxifen or raloxifene," Ingle explained. "The best chance we have of decreasing the burden of breast cancer is to prevent it in the first place. Our findings provide the basis for a reinvigoration of research efforts in breast cancer prevention."
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
breast cancer prevention.
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