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Elevated Glutamyl Transferase Linked To Breast Cancer Risk

Posted Jun 28 2010 8:00am
Gamma-glutamyl transferase is an enzyme produced in several organs, though mainly in the liver, and is probably best known as a marker for alcohol abuse.  However, gamma-glutamyl transferase can be elevated due to other conditions as well.  Recent research suggests that gamma-glutamyl transferase can be elevated after the exposure to possible carcinogens .  This has led researchers to explore the possible relationship between blood levels of gamma-glutamyl transferase and breast cancer.

In a new study published online in the British Journal of Cancer, researchers examined the possible link between gamma-glutamyl transferase blood levels and breast cancer risk.  For this study, the breast cancer researchers measured gamma-glutamyl transferase in the blood of over 1,800 normal, healthy women, 96 of whom subsequently developed breast cancer.  The breast cancer researchers reported
  • Women in the group with the highest gamma-glutamyl transferase levels were more than twice as likely to develop breast cancer.
  • When examined by menopausal status, breast cancer risk was only significantly increased in premenopausal women.
  • Premenopausal women in the highest quarter of gamma-glutamyl transferase blood levels were nearly 4 times more likely to develop breast cancer.
  • Furthermore, premenopausal woment with gamma-glutamyl transferase blood levels above the normal range were nearly 5 times more likely to develop breast cancer.
These results suggest that premenopausal women with elevated levels of gamma-glutamyl transferase are at substantially higher risk for breast cancer.  The authors suggest that the elevated gamma-glutamyl transferase levels possibly represent previous exposure to carcinogens.  Therefore, women with elevated gamma-glutamyl transferase might need to be considered for closer breast cancer screening strategies.  Overall, this new research exposes another potential screening marker that might be useful to catch breast cancer at early stages of development, allowing a greater chance for better breast cancer outcomes.

Modifying our diet and lifestyle choices to more healthy options can help reduce our exposure to carcinogens, thus lowering breast cancer risk.  To learn more, read my book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer .
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