Stress Fibers and Microtubules in Human Breast Cancer Cells

Untangling the Puzzle of Obesity and Breast Cancer

The close relationship between obesity and breast cancer is well known to researchers and oncologists. Obesity after menopause can raise the risk of breast cancer by 30-50%. Not only that, obesity makes the prognosis  worse – both before and after menopause. Survival rates drop significantly in women with abdominal obesity. The risk goes up with each unit of BMI.

Menopause, Breast Cancer, and ObesityBut this information leaves us with a puzzle because obesity does not increase the risk before menopause. Why?

Shawna Matthews and Henry Thompson tackle this question in a new paper published by the International Journal of Molecular Science. They note that this cancer takes decades to develop. So dismissing the impact of obesity on breast cancer before menopause would be a mistake.

Rather, they conclude that:

Obesity is a complex, multifaceted condition and that active avoidance of excessive weight for height, irrespective of menopausal status, has a direct and consistent bearing on the number of women who die from this disease.

Prevention of breast cancer via weight control must consider the emerging approaches to prevention as recently summarized and the new insights to cancer causality being ushered in by the understanding of the cancer genome landscapes.

In other words, understanding, treating, and preventing obesity is a critical path for reducing the suffering caused by breast cancer.

Click here for the paper by Matthews and Thompson.

Stress Fibers and Microtubules in Human Breast Cancer Cells, image by Christina Stuelten and Carole Parent / NCI Center for Cancer Research

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July 5, 2016