Unraveling the Complexities of BRCA-Related Breast and Ovarian Cancers
The BRCA1 (BReast CAncer gene 1) and BRCA2 are genes that produce proteins crucial for DNA repair. Since these proteins play a pivotal role in cellular resilience against DNA damage — mutations leading to inactivation of these genes results in increased vulnerability to cancers. Women with inactivating mutations in BRCA genes face elevated lifetime risks of recurrent breast and ovarian cancers, often having to undergo vigilant monitoring with some having to opt for preventive surgeries to remove their breasts and ovaries to reduce cancer risks. Despite advancements in understanding the initial cancer development, the factors driving recurrence of BRCA related breast and ovarian cancers remain elusive, posing a significant challenge in managing the long-term health of mutation carriers. We are talking to Dr. Katherine L. Nathanson of the University of Pennsylvania to understand more about the complexities of BRCA related breast & ovarian cancers and gain insights into ongoing research and the potential avenues for future breakthroughs.