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 May 13, 2005
Inactive Gene Could Signal Pending Breast Cancer: Study
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Half of the women with a high likelihood of developing breast cancer have a genetic mutation that could identify them at immediate risk, Duke University researchers say.

Scientists at the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center identified a chemical process that caused "silencing" of a gene called RARbeta2. This mutation was found in 69 percent of women with early stage breast cancer and 50 percent of those at high risk for the disease. The gene regulates how breast cells use vitamin A to keep themselves growing and dividing normally, the researchers said in a statement.

This cellular marker could lead to tests that identify women at short-term risk. The gene also provides a way to monitor whether preventive therapies are eradicating damaged breast cells, the researchers said.

Study results appear in the April 2005 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.


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