Diet in Breast Cancer Survivors
There is evidence that diet quality may be related to survival after breast cancer, however the mechanisms linking postdiagnosis diet to survival are not clear. George and colleagues examined how diet quality is related to biomarkers of inflammation among breast cancer survivors. In this study, breast cancer survivors completed food frequency questionnaires and serum concentrations of C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured. Women with better vs. poor quality postdiagnosis diets had lower concentrations of CRP. This study indicates that, among breast cancer survivors, a better quality diet can influence the degree of chronic inflammation.
Vegetable and Fruit Variety and Lung Cancer Risk
Vegetable and fruit consumption has been hypothesized to influence lung cancer risk. In addition to the quantity of fruits and vegetables consumed, the variety of fruits and vegetables may influence cancer risk. To explore this, Büchner and colleagues investigated whether a varied consumption of vegetables and fruits is associated with lower lung cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study (EPIC). They report that more variety in vegetable consumption was associated with a lower risk of lung cancer, and this lower risk was only seen among current smokers. These studies suggest that antioxidants from vegetables and fruits reduce oxidative stress due to smoking.
ATM mutations and Breast Cancer
ATM is the gene mutated in the autosomal recessive disorder Ataxiatelangiectasia (A-T). Female relatives of A-T patients carrying a heterozygous A-T mutation have an increased breast cancer risk but it was not known if ATM mutations that were not pathogenic for A-T were associated with breast cancer risk. In a large combined analysis, Fletcher and colleagues genotyped 5 polymorphic missense ATM SNPs in 26,101 breast cancer cases from 23 different studies. The authors report that the 5 missense ATM SNPs were associated with a small increased risk of breast cancer. This study illustrates how testing the combined effects of rare missense variants in known breast cancer genes can help clarify their overall contribution to breast cancer susceptibility.
Communicating BRCA Results
In BRCA testing, communication within the family is a necessary precursor to further family testing. The study by Cheung and colleagues estimates rates of family communication and genetic testing in relatives, as well as their predictors, in a large and diverse population of BRCA testers. The study found that nearly all participants (97%) communicated BRCA results with at least one relative and 75% of BRCA-positive participants reported that at least one relative pursued genetic testing. Family testing was negatively associated with Asian race and positively associated with increased socioeconomic status. This work can inform clinicians interested in improving family communication regarding cancer predisposition testing.