A population of cells which decreases after pregnancy is related to breast cancer risk

Epidemiological and experimental data suggest that full-term pregnancy (lasting 37 - 40 weeks) at an early age reduces the risk of developing breast cancer in postmenopausal women. However, the mechanism responsible for this protection is unknown. A study led by researchers at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute of the Harvard Medical School (Boston, USA), in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, USA), identifies molecular differences in breast cells from women with and without children. The work was published in the journal Cell Stem Cell from the Cell group, with Dr. Vanessa Almendro as its co-first author. Shes is a member of the IDIBAPS Molecular and Translational Oncology team directed by Dr. Pere Gascon, Chief of Oncology at the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona. The results of the investigation suggest that CD44+ p27+ cells are potential progenitors of estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) postmenopausal breast cancer, the most common form of the disease.