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Environmental and Lifestyle Influences on Breast Cancer Risk: Clues from Women with Inherited Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2

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Final rept. 1 Sep 1998-31 Aug 2001

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This project aims to identify potentially preventable environmental influences on breast and ovarian cancer by focusing on a population of women with genetically inherited predisposition to the disease. This is an extension of our ongoing research into the genetics of breast and ovarian cancer among Jewish women in the New York City area. The IDEA project centered on female relatives of breast cancer patients with confirmed mutations in BRCAl or BRCA2. Each relative provided a blood sample for mutation testing and completed an extensive questionnaire addressing epidemiologic factors in breast cancer risk. Among participants, inherited mutations in BRCAl and BRCA2 were more frequent in women with a younger breast cancer diagnosis and in women with a breast andor ovarian cancer family history. Breast cancer risks increased over time among women with mutations, suggesting the influence of environmental factors. The experiences and exposures of women with mutations who did and did not develop breast or ovarian cancer were compared to identify factors that ameliorate or exacerbate risk in this high-risk group. These risk factors may be generalized to women without inherited vulnerability to breast or ovarian cancer, as inherited cancer is virtually indistinguishable, clinically and biologically, from its non inherited counterpart.

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  • Genetic Engineering and Molecular Biology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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