Poverty may trigger a gene mutation that reduces a woman's chances of surviving breast cancer, UK researchers report.
They analysed the level of mutation in the p53 gene in frozen tumour tissue samples from 246 women treated for breast cancer between 1997 and 2001. Women from poorer neighborhoods were more likely to have a p53 mutation and were less likely to have survived cancer-free, BBC News reported.
Normally, the p53 gene acts as a tumour suppressor. But the gene loses that ability when it mutates.
"This research makes a strong link between p53 and deprivation, and then between p53 mutation and (cancer) recurrence and death," study leader Dr Lee Baker of Dundee University told BBC News. "As a social issue, it shows that if we lift people up the deprivation scale, they will be less likely to have problems with their p53 gene, and go on to develop breast cancer."
The study appears in the British Journal of Cancer. - (HealthDay News, February 2010)