A new study led by scientists from the Section of Nutrition and Metabolism at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) identifies potential novel pathways for breast cancer development. The results, published in the open access journal BMC Medicine, are based on 1624 cases of breast cancer and 1624 matched controls, which are part of the large European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort.
The researchers analysed levels of more than 120 metabolites in plasma samples from the 3248 women and investigated the relationships between the concentration of each metabolite and the risk of developing breast cancer in the years after the samples were collected.
Among women who were not using oral contraceptives or menopausal hormone therapy when the samples were collected (1124 cases and 1124 controls), higher concentrations of acylcarnitine and lower concentrations of arginine, asparagine, and five different phosphatidylcholines were associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
This is the largest study published so far that identifies possible new biomarkers of future breast cancer development. These results need to be replicated in other epidemiological studies, and more research is needed to identify determinants of these metabolites.
His M, Viallon V, Dossus L, Gicquiau A, Achaintre D, Scalbert A, et al.
Prospective analysis of circulating metabolites and breast cancer in EPIC
BMC Med, Published online 24 September 2019;