Breast cancer risk 'linked to cup size'

5 July 2012

Women with larger breasts have a greater chance of developing breast cancer, according to a new study of more than 16,000 women.

The report was conducted by Nicholas Eriksson, principal scientist at the direct to consumer personal genomics company 23andMe, who says the link may lie with the sex hormone oestrogen, which trigger the growth of both mammary glands and tumours.

In a study published online in BMC Medical Genetics, the researchers found seven genetic factors significantly associated with breast size, three of which were already linked to mutations connected with breast tumours.

Dr Eriksson said genetic factors influence whether women have double As or double Ds; something he acknowledged was surprising.

"These findings show some of the same biological pathways underlie both normal breast growth and breast cancer.

"The genetic factors we found aren't enough to explain this association, but support the idea that breast size and breast cancer are related," he added.

Although the connections between these genetic factors are not fully understood, the findings give clues to the function of some of these genes and regions that might be useful in combating breast cancer, Dr Eriksson went on to note.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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