Male Sex Hormones Cooperate With Breast Cancer Gene To Suppress Tumors

BRCA-2, a gene linked with breast and ovarian cancer, cooperates with male sex hormones to enhance its ability to activate transcription of genes, which may suppress tumor formation in normal cells, Salk Institute researchers have found. The study, published in the June 10 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides details on how the normal form of the gene may work, and how mutant forms of BRCA-2 may malfunction and therefore likely contribute to the development of breast cancer. It also gives greater insight into the causes of male breast cancer. BRCA-2 is one of two genes (the other is BRCA-1) linked to at least 10 percent of all breast cancers; the mutant form appears in nearly all male breast cancers.