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An Integrative Approach to Breast Cancer

presented at IFM Advancements in Clinical Research and Innovative Practices in Functional Medicine 2020;

Tara Scott, MD, FACOG, CNMP, ABAARM, ABOIHM,  and Salena Rothenberger, CFMP, CHC

ABSTRACT: There seems to be an increase incidence of premenopausal breast cancer in the United States. Traditionally, HRT has been blamed as a causative factor and also genetics with BRAC 1 and 2. However, these premenopausal patients are not on hormone therapy and many are negative for BRAC genes. My hypothesis is that there are other single nucleotide pleomorphisms (SNPs) that put a patient an increased risk of breast cancer, namely MTHFR 677, MTHFR 1298, and COMT.

MTHFR and COMT genes are involved in methylation processes in the body. This process is a large component of Phase 2 detoxification, especially for estrogen. My theory is that patients with SNPs in MTHFR and COMT have an impaired ability to get rid of estrogens and thus have an accumulation or back up of Estrone or the toxic metabolite 4-OH Estrone which can increase the risk of breast cancer. As a result, there is an imbalance in the hormones that cause hyperplasia (estrogens) and regulation of apoptosis (progesterone) in the breast.

Goals and Objectives:

  • Review Estrogen detoxification and discuss epigenetic modulation of the enzymes involved
  • Discuss genomics and methylation
  • Demonstrate which SNPs may possibly be involved with breast cancer risk
  • Provide a literature search on articles already published about methylation and breast cancer risk
  • Demonstrate a case study where identifying methylation defects and epigenetic modulation was effective at decreasing harmful 4 OH estrone metabolites.
  • Detail a plan to make prevention the target rather than early detection through
    • Raising awareness of practitioners regarding methylation and breast cancer, and an integrative approach
    • Educate patients about hormone risks factors that are tied to increased breast cancer risk- through the Revitalize Academy