Women who suffer from fragile X syndrome, a genetic disease characterized by a delay in psychomotor development, with symptoms such as intellectual disability with varying degrees of severity or autistic behavior, among others, have an increased risk of suffering from breast cancer and metastasis.

As has been observed in a multicenter investigation carried out in Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom, whose results have been published in the digital edition of EMBO Molecular Medicine, the presence in the brain of these patients of a protein Associated with Fragile X syndrome is associated with a greater chance of developing this type of tumor and also facilitates cancer cells invading blood vessels and spreading to other tissues.

The presence of a protein associated with fragile X syndrome increases the chances of breast cancer developing and favors the spread of the disease

The researchers examined in rats with breast cancer the effects of the presence of this protein and found that there was a relationship between it and the spread of the tumor to the rest of the body of animals. They also observed that when the protein was eliminated the metastasis decreased, as explained by Dr. Claudia Bagni, the study's main author and member of the University of Rome (Italy).

The expert adds that the fragile X syndrome protein levels can therefore serve as an indicator of aggressive breast cancer, and could also be used to predict the chances of the neoplasm spreading to other organs.

Genetic Testing for Cancer (November 2019).