Pregnant Pause


It has long been known that early pregnancy reduces breast cancer risk. Why this happens, however, was not clear. A study on mice has now shown that the signaling ratio of Wnt/Notch pathway that controls a cell’s fate during development was significantly, and permanently, reduced in the mammary tissues of mice that gave birth. The down-regulation of Wnt is the opposite of what is seen in many cancers. This suggests the tightened control of Wnt/Notch pathway in women who give birth before 20 years of age prevents the runaway tissue growth associated with most cancers and cuts the risk of breast cancer by half.


Down To Earth, May 2013