Breast cancer prevention based on gene-environment interaction

Mol Carcinog. 2011 Apr;50(4):280-90. doi: 10.1002/mc.20639. Epub 2010 May 24.


Breast cancer, the most common cancer in women, results from combined effects of genetic and environmental factors. Although a number of preventive measures have been suggested to reduce the risk of breast cancer, only a few (e.g., regular mammogram, etc.) proved to be efficient preventive modalities. Among many potential reasons, differences in individual susceptibility factors may complicate the efficacy of the intervention. A growing body of evidence shows that the strength of association between various dietary, behavioral (exercise and obesity), and environmental exposures, and breast cancer risk may be modified by individual genetic factors. Preventive strategies against breast cancer will be discussed considering the findings of the gene-environment interaction of breast cancer. These include behavior modification for high-risk subjects (primary prevention), early detection and extensive monitoring of genetically susceptible subjects and noninvasive treatment of early stage cancer cases (secondary prevention), and finally prophylactic and therapeutic intervention to slow the progression of diseases (tertiary prevention). The accumulating evidences of the gene-environment interactions provide a better understanding of the breast cancer development and enable us to adopt individualized preventive strategies for personalized health care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Obesity / complications
  • Primary Prevention / methods*
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Risk Factors