Women who have a certain genetic marker may be at increased risk for breast cancer, especially if they are overweight or obese, a new study suggests.
In the study, white women with the genetic marker were nearly 70 percent more likely to have breast cancer compared to those without the marker.
And if women were overweight or obese and had the marker, their risk of breast cancer increased by 210 percent, compared with those who did not have the marker, the study found it.
Weight loss is likely a good way to reduce breast cancer risk in general, said study researcher Ting-Yuan David Cheng, a research assistant professor at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. If the new findings are confirmed by future studies, researchers may one day be able to screen for this genetic marker to identify women for which weight loss would be even more important in preventing breast cancer, Cheng said.
The marker appeared to especially increase the risk of a type of breast cancer called estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, which generally does not respond to hormonal breast cancer treatments. White women who were overweight or obese and had the genetic marker were eight times more likely to develop estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer than those who did not have the marker.