Compensatory mammary growth following protein restriction during pregnancy and lactation increases early-onset mammary tumor incidence in rats.
Carcinogenesis 2006 ; 28: 545-52.
DOI : 10.1093/carcin/bgl166
PubMed ID : 16952910
PMCID : 0
Breast cancer incidence is increased in women with both high and low birth weight. The latter is also associated with hyperglycaemia, insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, each of which independently increases breast cancer risk. We showed previously in our model of poor early-growth that pregnancy estradiol levels were raised while offspring developed type-2 diabetes. We hypothesized that nutritionally-induced poor early-growth influences breast cancer risk and investigated this in our model. Wistar rat dams were given either a control diet (20% casein) or an isocaloric low-protein (LP) diet (8% casein) throughout pregnancy and lactation. Offspring postnatal mammary gland development was assessed by morphometry. To identify potential growth mechanisms, we measured protein expression of receptors involved in insulin and hormone signaling, both in cleared mammary gland lysates and isolated epithelial cells. Mammary tumor incidence and latency (n=96) was monitored after three weekly intraperitoneal nitrosomethylurea injections (50 mg/kg body wt). LP offspring displayed reduced postnatal ductal branching and epithelial invasion at 3 weeks, followed by compensatory mammary growth 1 week later coinciding with increased protein expression of receptors to insulin, IGF-1 and estrogen. Significantly, early-mammary tumor incidence (0-16 weeks post-treatment) was doubled in LP offspring [RR, 2.13 (1.02, 4.45); P=0.046]. The data suggest that poor early nutrition has an important influence on the mammary primordium, and increases future susceptibility to breast cancer. Up-regulated growth factor and hormone signaling during compensatory mammary growth may mediate this increased susceptibility and present potential targets for intervention.