BRCA1: Breast Cancer and Beyond

Wed, 12/07/2011 - 12:29

BRCA1, also known as breast cancer type 1 susceptibility protein and RING finger protein 53, belongs to a class of genes known as tumor suppressors. BRCA1 regulates cell growth and division, and is also involved in DNA repair. There have been hundreds of BRCA1 mutations identified, and many of them are associated with an increased risk of cancer.  A woman who inherits a harmful BRCA1 gene mutation is at greater risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer in her lifetime.  BRCA1 gene mutations can also cause cervical, uterine, pancreatic, and colon cancer in women.

Mutations to the BRCA1 gene can be inherited and passed down by men as well.  Men with a harmful BRCA1 mutation have a higher relative risk of developing breast cancer compared to men without the BRCA1 mutation.  The overall occurrence of breast cancer in men is so low, that the absolute risk of developing breast cancer due to the mutation is much lower in men than women.

Western Blot: BRCA1 Antibody

In addition to the increased risk of developing cancer due to BRCA1 mutations, BRCA1 also plays a role in the prognosis and treatment of both hereditary and sporadic cancers.  Several studies have shown an association between low BRCA1 protein expression and improved survival in patients with sporadic epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC).  A recent study published in Gynecologic Oncology [PMID: 21920589] confirms this observation in sporadic EOC and also shows that BRCA1 expression levels can predict response to chemotherapy.  With the help of BRCA1 antibodies, the researchers provide evidence that low BRCA1 expression predicts for an enhanced response to platinum chemotherapy.

Continued research on the role and effect of BRCA1 is important to understand the development and progression of cancer, and also to identify the most effective methods of treatment.

Novus Biologicals offers BRCA1 reagents for your research needs including:

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