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  • Posted: 09/12/2012
NCI Cancer Center News

Georgetown animal study finds pregnancy exposures determine risk of breast cancer in multiple generations of offspring

Researchers from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center demonstrate, in animals, that maternal exposure to a high-fat diet or excess estrogen during pregnancy can increase breast cancer risk in multiple generations of female offspring — daughters, granddaughters and even great-granddaughters. This study, published online in Nature Communications, shows for the first time that the risk of some “familial” breast cancers originate from biological alterations caused by maternal diet during pregnancy that not only affect the directly exposed fetus but also the fetal germ cells, transmitting the increased mammary cancer risk to subsequent generations.

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