Researchers Combine Common Genetic Variants, Other Factors to Improve Breast Cancer Risk Prediction

“A Mayo Clinic-led team of international researchers has now combined 77 of these common genetic variants into a single risk factor that can be used to improve the identification of women with an elevated risk of breast cancer. This factor, known as a polygenic risk score, was built from the genetic data of more than 67,000 women. The results of the research are published April 2, 2015, in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI).

“A companion study has extended this finding to show that this measure of genetic variation can be combined with traditional predictors of breast cancer risk such as breast density and family history to improve personalized estimates of breast cancer risk. Those findings appeared in JNCI last month.

” ‘This genetic risk factor adds valuable information to what we already know can affect a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer,’ says study co-author Celine Vachon, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at Mayo Clinic. ‘We are currently developing a test based on these results, and though it isn’t ready for clinical use yet, I think that within the next few years we will be using this approach for better personalized screening and prevention strategies for our patients.’ “


The Risk Factor – New Evidence on Obesity and Prostate Cancer

“Casting an eye over our cancer prevention infographic it’s noticeable that there’s no mention of prostate cancer. That’s because, until now, researchers haven’t been able to uncover much about what causes the disease, and what people can do to reduce their risk.

“Yesterday, as part of its Continuous Update Project, the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) published an in-depth look at the latest evidence on preventing prostate cancer, with some new and interesting conclusions that you may have seen in the media.

“The organisation grades evidence based on the strength and reliability of all the research combined. Its top two categories are ‘convincing’ and ‘probable’, when the evidence is so strong that it can be talked about confidently, and even lead to recommendations for the public.

“So what has it found?

“Its most significant finding is that men who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of ultimately developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

“It also found that fully grown adults’ height ‘probably’ affects risk, but because this is determined by early life and genes, men can’t do much about it (although it does give clues for more research into how the disease develops).”


Genetic Testing Could Improve Breast Cancer Prevention

“Scientists used mathematical models to show that analysing genetic data, alongside a range of other risk factors, could substantially improve the ability to flag up women at highest risk of developing breast cancer.

“Their study showed that prevention strategies could be improved by testing not only as currently for major cancer predisposition genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 – which identify a small percentage of women at very high risk – but also by factoring in data on multiple gene variants that individually have only a small effect on risk, but are more common in the population.

“The research was carried out by researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, US – and is published today (Thursday) in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“The study received funding from The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the National Cancer Institute.

“Researchers stressed that their study was a computer modelling analysis and would need to be confirmed by further research aimed at validating the models they used and assessing real-life prevention approaches.”


Circumcision Linked to Reduced Risk of Prostate Cancer in Some Men

“Circumcision is performed for various reasons, including those that are based on religion, aesthetics, or health. New research indicates that the procedure may help prevent prostate cancer in some men. The findings, which are published in BJU International, add to a growing list of advantages to circumcision.

“Besides advanced age, African ancestry, and family history of prostate cancer, no other risk factors for prostate cancer have been definitively established. This has fuelled the search for modifiable risk factors. Marie-Élise Parent, PhD and Andrea Spence, PhD, of the University of Quebec’s INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, led a team that designed an observational study to investigate the possible association between circumcision and prostate cancer risk. Their study, called PROtEuS (Prostate Cancer and Environment Study), included 1590 prostate cancer patients diagnosed in a Montréal hospital between 2005 and 2009, as well as 1618 healthy control individuals. In-person interviews were conducted to gather information on sociodemographic, lifestyle, and environmental factors.”


Blistering Sunburns in Adolescence Linked with 80% Higher Risk for Melanoma

“The risk for developing melanoma is significantly linked with severe sunburns before age 20 years among young white women, according to recent findings.

“Specifically, the risk for onset of melanoma in adulthood was increased by 80% among those who suffered at least five blistering sunburns between the ages of 15 and 20 years.”


Indoor Tanning, Even Without Burning, Increases the Risk of Melanoma

“People sometimes use indoor tanning in the belief that this will prevent burns when they tan outdoors. However, indoor tanning raises the risk of developing melanoma even if a person has never had burns from either indoor or outdoor tanning, according to a study published May 29 in the JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

“To test the hypothesis that indoor tanning without burns prevents sunburn and subsequent skin cancer, researchers at the Masonic Cancer Center, Department of Dermatology, and Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis used data from a case-control study on indoor tanning and the risk of melanoma. The researchers had detailed information on indoor tanning and sun exposure for the study participants and excluded those who experienced a burn while tanning indoors.”


People of Color Need Sun Protection to Avoid Skin Cancer

“Although skin cancer is less prevalent among people of color than in whites, sun protection and other preventive measures are essential components of skin care in these populations, according to research published online Jan. 30 in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.”


Targeted Intervention Decreased Melanoma Risk, Increased Early Prevention

“A targeted screening and education strategy aimed at patients at high risk for melanoma favorably affected behaviors that may reduce melanoma risk compared with a standard information-based campaign, according to the results of a recent study published in Annals of Family Medicine.

“General practitioner counseling, combined with a skin examination and a self-assessment tool resulted in patients retaining information about melanoma risk factors and reducing high-risk behaviors.”


Men Who Take Fish Oil Supplements Have Higher Risk of Prostate Cancer

Research from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has confirmed that high blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer by 71 percent, and increase the overall risk of prostate cancer by 43 percent. The results of the new study involving 2227 men confirm similar findings from a clinical study conducted in 2011, as well as another large European study. Scientists are uncertain why fish oil increases the risk of prostate cancer, but a potential cause is that the omega-3 fatty acids break down into compounds that may damage DNA and lead to cancer development.