Tuesday February 20, 2018

Abdominal fat drives cancer in postmenopausal women: Study

Women in this age group, who are more vulnerable to abdominal weight gain, are now left with a new spin on their weight management priorities

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Abdominal fat drives cancer in postmenopausal women
Abdominal fat drives cancer in postmenopausal women. Pixabay
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  • Study suggests abdominal fat in the middle aged postmenopausal women drives cancer
  • Body fat distribution is more important as compared to the body weight, when talking about the risk of cancer in postmenopausal women
  • The best protection is to avoid central obesity 

Washington D.C. [USA], Sep 12, 2017: So if you never gave a thought to the idea of getting rid of that middle-age abdominal fat, ladies, this is the right time to start, as a recent study suggests, abdominal fat is a key factor in driving cancer for postmenopausal women.

It is important to understand the difference between the body weight and body fat distribution, since the latter is more important when talking about the risk of cancer in postmenopausal women, according to the study presented at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid.

Women in this age group, who are more vulnerable to abdominal weight gain, are now left with a new spin on their weight management priorities, as a result of the findings, said Line Maersk Staunstrup, the study investigator.

“When assessing cancer risk, body mass index (BMI) and fat percentage may not be adequate measures as they fail to assess the distribution of fat mass,” she explained.

“Avoiding central obesity may confer the best protection,” she added.

The findings are from the prospective Epidemiologic Risk Factor study. The study, which is observational in nature, is a prospective cohort study designed to understand the age-related diseases in Danish, postmenopausal women, in a better way.

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The study included 5,855 postmenopausal women, with the mean age being 71, who went through baseline dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans to assess body fat and its composition, which have been followed for 12 years.

“The average elderly women can very much use this information, as it is known that the menopause transition initiates a shift in body fat towards the central trunk area. Therefore elderly women should be especially aware of their lifestyle when they approach the pre-menopause age,” said Mærsk Staunstrup.

“Clinicians can additionally use the information for a preventive conversation with women who are in higher risk of cancer. While clinicians have access to whole body DXA scanners at most hospitals, portable DXA scanners have become available on the commercial market and this may allow regional bone and fat scanning, however it may not be the most reliable for measuring central obesity,” she concluded.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha

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Girls may inherit ovarian cancer gene from fathers

The researchers collected information about pairs of granddaughters and grandmothers and sequenced portions of the X-chromosome from 186 women affected by cancer

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A mutation on the X-chromosome may also advance ovarian cancer's age of onset by more than six years. Wikimedia Commons
A mutation on the X-chromosome may also advance ovarian cancer's age of onset by more than six years. Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have found a gene responsible for ovarian cancer that can be passed down from fathers to their daughters.

The study found that genes on the X-chromosome get potentially passed down through the father to his daughter, thus increasing the risk of ovarian cancer in girls.

A mutation on the X-chromosome may also advance ovarian cancer’s age of onset by more than six years.

“Our study may explain why we find families with multiple affected daughters: because a dad’s chromosomes determine the sex of his children, all of his daughters have to carry the same X-chromosome genes,” said Kevin H.

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Eng, Assistant Professor at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Buffalo, the US.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, stated that the genetic mutation inherited from the paternal grandmothers were also associated with higher rates of prostate cancer in fathers and sons as well.

The study found that genes on the X-chromosome get potentially passed down through the father to his daughter, thus increasing the risk of ovarian cancer in girls. Wikimedia Commons
The study found that genes on the X-chromosome get potentially passed down through the father to his daughter, thus increasing the risk of ovarian cancer in girls. Wikimedia Commons

The researchers collected information about pairs of granddaughters and grandmothers and sequenced portions of the X-chromosome from 186 women affected by cancer.

The results proposed that a gene on the X-chromosome may contribute to a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, independently of other known susceptibility genes, such as the BRCA genes.

This observation suggests that there may be many cases of seemingly sporadic ovarian cancer that are actually inherited, and may lead to improved cancer screening and better genetic risk assessment.

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However, future studies will be needed to confirm the identity and function of this gene.

“What we have to do next is make sure we have the right gene by sequencing more families. This finding has sparked a lot of discussion within our group about how to find these X-linked families,” Eng said.

“It’s an all-or-none kind of pattern: A family with three daughters who all have ovarian cancer is more likely to be driven by inherited X mutations than by BRCA mutations,” Eng noted. (IANS)

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