Affiliation: University of Arizona Cancer Center, 1515 N. Campbell, Room 3999A, Tucson, AZ 85724, USA.
The Breast Cancer 1 protein (BRCA1) is a tumor suppressor involved in basic cellular functions necessary for cell replication and DNA synthesis, but reduced expression of BRCA1, due to mutations or epigenetic inactivation, leads to impaired mammary gland differentiation and increased risk of breast cancer development. Although BRCA1 acts as a tumor suppressor and is present in all cells, where it is essential for the maintenance of the genome integrity, it is still not clear why mutations in the BRCA1 gene predispose to breast and ovarian, but not to other types of cancer. In the first part of this review, we briefly discuss the function and regulation of the BRCA1 protein, including its role associated with familial and sporadic breast cancer. The second part is an overview of the therapeutic compounds used for breast cancer treatment targeting BRCA1, and the natural food components that hold potential preventive effect against those types of breast cancer in which BRCA1 expression is either reduced or lacking. Further studies elucidating the interactions between dietary compounds and cellular pathways, involved in regulation of BRCA1expression, are necessary for the development of strategies that may successfully prevent or treat breast cancer.