Having Babies Reduces Breast Cancer Risk – A Study!
A recent study conducted at Fox Chase Research Center by a team of researchers headed by Jose Russo has been a success.
Women who bear children in their earlier years are at a reduced risk of breast cancer than those who do not have children.
Through this study, a unique genomic signature was identified. This gene expression was different in the breast tissues of post-menopausal women who had children from those tissues taken from post-menopausal women without children.
The results obtained through this study will help the researchers understand, why pregnancy lowers breast cancer risk and subsequently help them in coming up with chemopreventive options that can protect women without children.
A woman with multiple pregnancies at a young age is automatically protected against breast cancer.
Through this study, a post-pregnancy genomic expression pattern was observed in women, which was continuing to exist even after menopause.
Considering this fact, the research team compared the gene expression pattern of the breast tissues of 21 post-menopausal women who did not have children with 44 post-menopausal women who had children.
Through comparison they found that 208 genes were expressed differently.
This ‘208 gene signature’ thus represents the pregnancy effects and finding this signature was their end goal according to Jose Russo.
The set of differentially expressed genes included a large number of genes that are needed for processing RNA transcripts. High levels of RNA processing genes will make sure that proteins are made as per the requirement of the body only. This further reduces abnormal protein presence that may lead to cancerous growth.
Apart from these genes, the research team also observed decreased expression levels of cancer associated genes in women with children.
Stem cell genes were also down-regulated in women who had children. But, in women who did not have children, these genes were active to grow into new breast tissues.
Researchers need a standard or test to develop chemopreventive options. The standard will be used to check if the options are working. The gene signature identified through this study can thus be used as a standard now.