Migraines linked to lower risk of breast cancer
For the first time researchers are getting a detailed look at the interior of human coronary arteries, using an optical imaging technique developed at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). In their report in the journal JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, the research team describes how optical frequency-domain imaging (OFDI) gives three-dimensional, microscopic
Full Post: Optical frequency-domain imaging provides 3-D view of human coronary arteries
Women who suffer from migraines may take at least some comfort in a recent, first-of-its-kind study that suggests a history of such headaches is associated with a significantly lower risk of breast cancer. Christopher I. Li, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center report these findings in the November issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
“We found that, overall, women who had a history of migraines had a 30 percent lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who did not have a history of such headaches,” said Li, a breast-cancer epidemiologist and associate member of the Hutchinson Center’s Public Health Sciences Division.
In particular, migraine history appeared to reduce the risk of the most common subtypes of breast cancer: those that are estrogen-receptor and/or progesterone-receptor positive. Such tumors have estrogen and/or progesterone receptors, or docking sites, on the surface of their cells, which makes them more responsive to hormone-blocking drugs than tumors that lack such receptors.
The biological mechanism behind the association between migraines and breast cancer is not fully known, but Li and colleagues suspect that it has to do with fluctuations in levels of circulating hormones.
“Migraines seem to have a hormonal component in that they occur more frequently in women than in men, and some of their known triggers are associated with hormones,” Li said. “For example, women who take oral contraceptives - three weeks of active pills and one week of inactive pills to trigger menstruation - tend to suffer more migraines during their hormone-free week,” he said. Conversely, pregnancy - a high-estrogen state - is associated with a significant decrease in migraines. “By the third trimester of pregnancy, 80 percent of migraine sufferers do not have these episodes,” he said. Estrogen is known to stimulate the growth of hormonally sensitive breast cancer.
While this study represents the first of its kind to look at a potential connection between migraines and breast cancer, Li and colleagues have data from two other studies that in preliminary analyses appear to confirm these findings, he said.
“While these results need to be interpreted with caution, they point to a possible new factor that may be related to breast-cancer risk. This gives us a new avenue to explore the biology behind risk reduction. Hopefully this could help stimulate other ideas and extend what we know about the biology of the disease.”
For the study, the researchers combined data from two population-based, case-control studies of 3,412 Seattle-area postmenopausal women, 1,938 of whom had been diagnosed with breast cancer and 1,474 of whom had no history of breast cancer, who served as a comparison group. Information on migraine history was based on self-report and was limited to migraines that had been diagnosed by a physician or other health professional.
The National Cancer Institute funded the research, which also involved researchers from the Hutchinson Center’s Human Biology Division and the University of Washington School of Medicine Department of Neurology.
African-American women are at a higher risk for ER/PR negative breast cancer. A new study, to be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research, found that race, socioeconomic characteristics and other tumor characteristics are all important predictors of having ER/PR negative breast cancer. ER/PR
Full Post: ER/PR negative tumors associated with insurance status
Women who have a strong family history of breast cancer are over four times more likely to develop the disease than the general population, according to research published in the British Journal of Cancer. This is the first time the risk for women who do not have a faulty BRCA gene but have one first-degree
Full Post: Breast cancer four times more likely in women with strong family history
Every day, women face a barrage of headlines about breast cancer. What should they do with all of that information? George Sledge, M.D., an internationally recognized breast cancer expert, pointed out that, despite all of the near-constant news and information about breast cancer, it is not the disease that impacts most women. “It’s important to
Full Post: Women need to be aware of changes, breast expert says
A type of benign breast disease (BBD) known as atypical hyperplasia substantially increases a young woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, even if there is no history of breast cancer in her family, say researchers at Mayo Clinic. The investigators, who presented their findings at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center-American Association for Cancer Research
Full Post: Atypical hyperplasia increases risk of developing breast cancer
Migraine headaches can precede the onset of mental disorders, according to a growing body of knowledge that includes a new study in the January-February 2009 issue of General Hospital Psychiatry. “Together, migraine and mental disorders cause more impairment than alone,” said lead study author Gregory Ratcliffe. “Patients who have one condition should be assessed for
Full Post: Migraines linked to mental disorders