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.
Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.