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Infections may play a larger role in breast cancer than previously thought

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Waverunner, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    Very interesting finding. It becomes more and more apparent, that there are certain genetic mutations which make people prone to viral infections. These viral infections can play a very important role for the development of cancer. It would be very nice, if we moved from "viral infections probably are not very healthy" to "let's treat the viral infection or genetic mutation and see what happens".

    https://news.uic.edu/mutations-of-immune-system-found-in-breast-cancers

    Mutations in the genes that defend the body against cancer-related viruses and other infections may play a larger role in breast cancer than previously thought, according to a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

    Bernard Friedenson, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at UIC, looked at the DNA sequences of breast cancers from 21 different women and found mutations in genes involved in immunity in every one of them. The mutations were different in each of the breast cancers he analyzed, but all the mutations would have affected some aspect of pathogen recognition and defense, especially against viruses, Friedenson said.

    His results are published in the November issue of Functional & Integrative Genomics.

    The finding suggests that mutations affecting the immune system play an important role in the development of breast cancer, contrary to the prevailing notion that mutations in the genes that regulate cell division are primarily responsible. Viruses such as human papilloma virus, which can cause cervical cancer, and Epstein-Barr virus, which can cause certain lymphomas, have also been implicated in breast cancer.

    “Almost every human being is infected with one or more of these viruses, but most people never develop symptoms, much less breast cancer,” Friedenson said.

    Friedenson thinks that cancer-related viruses that are normally harmless can become dangerous if genes involved in immunity are mutated, either through heredity or environmental causes.

    He identified gene mutations in breast cancer cells that affect their ability to recognize viruses, including some mutations that would be expected to significantly increase the cells’ vulnerability to viruses implicated in breast cancer.

    “If we know which genes are damaged in a breast cancer patient’s immune system, prevention or even therapy can be tailored by giving vaccines or perhaps antiviral drugs to reduce the chances of recurrence,” said Friedenson. “Sequencing the genomes of individual breast cancers now costs about $2,000, and the cost continues to fall. This information could help physicians prescribe more targeted and effective treatments.”
  2. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    I read a study years and years ago which said that the wearing of bras encouraged the growth of cancers by keeping them all cosy warm - if bacteria and viruses are involved then keeping them all cosy won't help sufferers either.

    It also pointed out that it is the bras which cause back pain, not big boobs, but trying to howk them up against gravity and putting that strain on the back and shoulders.

    :p Just saying!
    Valentijn and heapsreal like this.
  3. PennyIA

    PennyIA Senior Member

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    I've actually heard that it's the pressure from the straps (shoulder and/or body strap) which can cause a disruption in the flow of the lymph system which doesn't allow the system to work as well as intended. Add this and it's all the more reason to burn the darn things.
    SickOfSickness likes this.
  4. peggy-sue

    peggy-sue

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    I gave them up years and years ago, after I read that study. Just to see how it went.

    Lo and behold, (after I got used to it, which did not take long.... and I was a big girl)
    - no more boob pain and no more back pain.:thumbsup:

    It's unnatural to have your boobs pointing up your nostrils.
    It's only done to pander to fashion - and men who want their women to look unnaturally young. :whistle:
    SickOfSickness and Valentijn like this.
  5. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

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    I know another sufferer who wants a "surf naked" emoticon. Could be relevant to your discussion.

    On the subject of infection and breast cancer, I've been saying for some time that many of the mutations involved are connected with immune defense against viral infections. I could also point to a substantial stack of papers reporting nucleic acid sequences resembling MMTV in breast cancer, or, conversely, arguing that there is no human mammary tumor virus. Just because a disease which appears after sexual maturity is hard to trace to an infectious cause a decade or so earlier is no reason to assume our technology is capable of catching everything. If the infection were passed the way it is in other mammals it would likely be there at the time a child is weaned, and remain latent until after sexual maturity. It would not affect evolutionary fitness at all if it killed people after reproductive age. (I just had a discussion today, reminding someone that substantially fewer women survived past age 35 until the last century and a half. Many of them died in childbirth. An endemic viral infection which was well adapted to humans prior to that would be very likely to produce a disease with onset after early reproductive years.
    Aside: you might check on a biography of Ben Franklin's baby sister. Eleven out of 12 children predeceased her, and childbirth was a major cause. )

    MMTV is a beta retrovirus, like the presumed progenitor of HERV-K. MMTV is an ERV, and also an exogenous virus. This is one of several examples showing that the two are not exclusive. HERV-K shows up reactivated in quite a range of cancers, and survival correlates with immune activity against cells expressing HERV-K, for example in melanoma.

    With all the arguments on the subject, I've wanted to say if something behaves like a viral infection, then try treating it like one. The availability of ARV drugs now makes this possible. Unfortunately, these would need to be used early, before most such cases are detected. Once the disease becomes well established there is a cascade of mutations and gene activations to deal with. That's when treatment begins to resemble a war, with the patient's body the battlefield.
    ukxmrv likes this.
  6. cigana

    cigana Senior Member

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    Might you observe a decrease in certain cancer rates in HIV positive patients on antiretorvirals?
  7. Overstressed

    Overstressed Senior Member

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    I've heard scientists recently say they can exactly predict cancer in HIV+: it's infection date + 35 years.

    To me, ARVs don't change much on getting cancer or not, it seems.

    Best wishes,
    OS.
    cigana likes this.
  8. anciendaze

    anciendaze Senior Member

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    There is such a decrease in people on ARVs, but only in two cancers: breast cancer and prostate cancer. As for what happens after 35 years, nobody really knows. We simply don't have the ability to track disease to an infectious cause unless we already know the cause, as in HTLV-1 and ATLL. Without a clearly defined infectious agent to test for we just don't know.

    I'm thinking that the statistics on some cancers and HIV infection are related to its ability to activate HERV-K113. (See also this new publication.) Up until now we generally have not been using HERV-K to measure effectiveness of ARVs. HIV loads could be down while HERV-K113 is up. If such a beta retrovirus is responsible, 35 years of activity would correlate with the evolutionary scenario I sketched out above.

    Beyond HERVs, there is a second confounding factor: endemic infections by herpes-type DNA viruses. These are known to serve as cofactors (HHV8) in Kaposi's sarcoma, which occurs at greatly increased rates in HIV-infected individuals.
    cigana likes this.

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