Breast Cancer Risk is Affected by Paternal Weight

Breast Cancer Risk is Affected by Paternal Weight

Take-Home Message:

In a mouse model, fathers who were overweight at the time of conception produced daughters with higher breast cancer risk.


Paternal Overweight is Associated with Increased Breast Cancer Risk in Daughters in a Mouse Model

Authors: Castilho Fontelles, C., et. al.

Source: Scientific Reports 6:28602 DOI:10.1038/srep28602

While links between maternal obesity during pregnancy and a daughter’s breast cancer risk are known, the links between paternal obesity and that same risk are unclear. The investigators overfed male mice to make them overweight. The mice then mated with females.  Resultant daughters’ mammary (breast) tissues were examined.

The overweight fathers developed changes in their own DNA. Their daughters had specifically altered mammary gland developments that are associated with increased breast cancer risk. This increased risk was associated with genetic changes; there were inherited traits that affected their mammary tissue.

This study raises the possibility that a father’s weight at the time of conception may have significant effects on his daughter’s breast cancer risk. The investigators encourage continued research in both animals and humans to look more closely at the connection.