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A better understanding of inherited breast cancer

Gene thought to promote tumor growth has opposite role in a kind of breast cancer

11:35am, October 9, 2008
One of the molecular players in breast cancer arising from an inherited mutation has a surprising role in squelching tumors, researchers report in the Oct. 10 Molecular Cell. 

In some types of cancer cells, researchers have shown that a gene called SIRT1 acts to keep cells alive longer, which leads to more tumor growth. But SIRT1 actually inhibits tumor growth in breast cancers caused by specific mutations in the BRCA1 gene, the new research shows. 

People who carry a mutated form of the gene BRCA1 are about three to seven times more likely to develop breast cancer over the course of their lives than women who carry a healthy version. Although researchers have known about the risks of BRCA1 mutations since 1994, it is unclear exactly how this mutation leads to cancer. To work out the molecules involved, researchers investigated a gene called SIRT1, wh

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