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November 16, 2009 | Kendall Powell, Los Angeles Times
Beverly Howey and her identical twin sister, Karen Duncan-Sherman, each found a breast lump in 2007. Howey's was cancer. Duncan-Sherman's was benign. The two women, now 45, couldn't have more similar genetics, and they live in the same place, Wall, N.J. Why did one develop cancer and not the other? Such questions have plagued breast cancer researchers for decades. Inherited genetic mutations, such as those in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, make up only 5% to 10% of breast cancers. And though there's a clear link between a woman's natural estrogen exposure and her breast cancer risk, there's no magic level that equals cancer.
October 1, 2011 | By Jill U. Adams, Special to the Los Angeles Times
What's the case for environmental pollutants contributing to breast cancer? Circumstantial evidence keeps patients, doctors, advocates and scientist asking this question, but so far no clear relationship between exposure and disease has been shown in people. Known risks for breast cancer include family history, mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, a woman's reproductive history — the age at which she gets her first period, the number of children she has and when she enters menopause — and lifestyle factors such as cigarette and alcohol use, diet and exercise.
October 1, 1996 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Two studies published in the October issue of Nature Genetics indicate that about 1 in 100 Jewish women of Eastern European descent, or about four times as many as previously thought, harbors a specific genetic mutation that increases her risk of breast and ovarian cancer. The gene in question, called BRCA2, is almost never mutated in other ethnic groups and is unrelated to a gene called BRCA1, which also increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
December 29, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A gene known to give many Jewish women a high risk of cancer also puts many U.S. Latino women at high risk, U.S. researchers reported this week in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. They found that 3.5% of Latinas entered in a Northern California breast cancer registry had the BRCA1 genetic mutation, compared with 8.3% of Ashkenazic Jews and 2.2% of non-Ashkenazic white women.
A British-American team has apparently wrapped up the mystery of inherited breast cancer, isolating a second gene that causes the disorder and thereby opening the door for increased screening in susceptible families. Like the first breast cancer gene, identified in September 1994, the newly discovered gene is thought to be responsible for about half of all inherited cases of breast cancer, which total as many as 18,000 cases a year in the United States.
December 1, 2006 | Karen Kaplan, Times Staff Writer
A sustained dose of RU-486, the so-called abortion pill, prevented breast cancer tumors in mice with a genetic mutation that made them highly susceptible to the disease, researchers at UC Irvine report today. The mutation in a gene known as BRCA1 leads to uncontrolled cell growth in the mammary glands. About one in 800 women inherits a version of BRCA1 that is damaged in some way, and the National Cancer Institute estimates that up to 80% of such women will develop breast cancer.
Injecting the recently discovered breast cancer gene into breast tumors eliminates the malignant cells--at least in mice carrying human cancer cells, scientists reported Thursday. Reflecting how quickly research in this field has accelerated in the past year, human testing of this anti-cancer therapy could begin later this year, researchers said.
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