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Obesity 'increases breast cancer risk significantly'

2nd March 2011

Being obese increases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer substantially, a new report from the University of Wisconsin has concluded.

The study, published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, showed that women with a higher body mass index who did little exercise had a 35 per cent greater risk of developing triple-negative breast cancer and a 39 per cent increased risk of oestrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.

Data was taken from the 155,723 people enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative, with the authors also finding that frequent exercise helped to reduce the risk of these types of breast cancer.

Dr Amy Trentham-Dietz, an associate professor of population health sciences at the University of Wisconsin, said the study raises 'important questions'.

'The body of literature, primarily meta-analyses, has shown most of the risk between obesity and breast cancer to be among the oestrogen receptor-positive subtypes. This paper raises questions about the possible role of growth factors or inflammation,' she explained.

Researchers at Belfast's Queen's University recently developed a gene transport system known as a Designer Biomimetic Vector, which they claim can help to combat the growth of breast cancer by delivering the iNOS gene directly to the cancerous cell and causing it to self-destruct.

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