Some household detergents, antiseptics and insecticides are potential environmental risk factors for an aggressive form of breast cancer, scientists say.
According to new data from a study led by an Aberdeen University academic, along with scientists from Leeds University, exposure to everyday chemicals may increase the risk of developing a hard-to-treat type of breast cancer.
Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive form that makes up 10-20% of all breast cancer diagnoses.
While curable if caught early, TNBC is resistant to hormone treatments and newer targeted therapies used to treat other types of breast cancer.
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Women with other types of breast cancer that are hormone receptor positive are treated with hormonal therapies which target oestrogen or progesterone – two of 48 nuclear receptors.
But how environmental chemicals change their activity is not well known.
Dr Laura Matthews and Professor Chris Twelves, from Leeds University, with Professor Valerie Speirs, from Aberdeen University, led the Breast Cancer UK-funded study.
Presenting their findings at a conference in Brighton, Dr Matthews said: “We are now investigating how the environmental chemicals change the behaviour of normal breast cells so we can understand how they might drive cancer development.”