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Oestrogen Receptor Expression, usefulness of Tamoxifen and Gene Expression Profiles in hereditary breast cancer

There are two well established hereditary breast cancer genes that have now been well worked out: BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, inheritance of which strongly correlates with an increased lifetime risk of breast cancer. There are now several preventive studies which have suggested that the administration of the anti-cancer drug tamoxifen (an anti-oestrogen and much more) reduces the incidence of this disease. However, the hypermethylation of the BRCA 1 promoter region in familial cases with this genotype is strongly correlated with negative oestrogen receptor status and it was no real surprise that recently it was reported that tamoxifen did not have any preventive effect aat reducing the incidence of breast cancer in the BRCA 1 familial population. It did prove preventive in BRCA 2 population.