Wet earwax, smelly armpits ’signal breast cancer risk’

June 2nd, 2009 - 1:04 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 2 (ANI): Having malodorous armpits and goopy earwax is any woman’s nightmare. Now, a discovery made by Japanese scientists may add a more serious problem for ladies facing these cosmetic calamities.

A new research in the FASEB Journal by the researchers shows that a “breast cancer gene” causes osmidrosis (smelly armpits) and makes earwax wet and sticky.

That’s because they’ve found that a gene responsible for breast cancer causes these physical symptoms.

“We do strongly hope that our study will provide a new tool for better predication of breast cancer risk by genotyping,” said Toshihisa Ishikawa, Ph.D., a professor from the Department of Biomolecular Engineering at the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the senior researcher involved in the work.

“Using a rapid and cost-effective typing method presented in this study would provide a practical tool for pharmacogenomics-based personalized medicine,” the expert added.

To reach the conclusion, Ishikawa and colleagues monitored the activities of a protein created by a gene associated with breast cancer, called “ABCC11.” By studying this gene and its complex cellular and molecular interactions in the body, the researchers discovered a distinct link between the gene and excessively smelly armpits and wet, sticky earwax.

Specifically, the researchers expressed the ABCC11 gene and variant proteins in cultured human embryonic kidney cells and showed exactly how the ABCC11 gene produces the wet-type earwax and excessive armpit odor.

The discovery could lead to practical tools for clinicians-especially those in developing nations-to rapidly identify who may have a higher risk for breast cancer.

“Wet, sticky earwax might not be easily noticed, but most people can’t miss unpleasant body odors,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal, “As it turns out, the type of ear wax one has is linked to a gene that leads to bad odors from one’s armpit. These may become lifesaving clues to the early detection and treatment of breast cancer.” (ANI)

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