BRCA1/2 gene mutations, not included in direct-to-consumer genetic testing, are associated with higher rates of ovarian cancer (17-44%) and breast cancer (69-72%). A new study argues that routine testing for these gene vulnerabilities could prevent up to an estimated 2,666 cases of breast cancer per million women, and up to 449 ovarian cancer cases per million women.
Not considered in this study is the important epigenetic mutations on the BRCA genes, brought about by excessive methylation on that DNA region that behaves the same way as a gene mutation would, hampering gene function and increases the risk for those cancers. BRCA genes are important anti-tumor genes, and their reduced activity is what increases cancer risk.
It’s possible that the methylation adaptogens that we refer to often, are useful here. These powerful plant flavonoid compounds, such as EGCG and sulforaphane, work selectively on the epigenome, ‘normalizing’ regions of hypermethylation, and potentially improving anti-tumor gene activity.