Research around cancer risk associated with breast implants

Dr Suzanne Turner comments on concerns around Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

Dr Suzanne Turner, from the Department of Pathology and co-lead of the Paediatric Cancer Programme at the CRUK Cambridge Centre has recently been featured in a number of articles relating to Breast Implant Associated Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (BIA-ALCL).

The Turner lab focusses on studying mechanisms of lymphomagenesis and Dr Turner also works on BIA-ALCL.

BIA-ALCL is a rare type of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphoid system, with cases found in women who have had breast implants for multiple reasons, including breast augmentation and breast reconstruction following mastectomy for breast cancer.

Concerns about BIA-ALCL have been discussed on the recent Panorama programme focussed on implants.

Speaking to the BBC about incidences of BIA-ALCL, Dr Turner said: "It is a concern, absolutely, particularly now that we're seeing breast implant associated lymphoma developing in these ladies.” 

In a study published last year in the European Journal of Surgical Oncology, Dr Turner and collaborators looked at incidences of BIA-ALCL in the UK, and, between 2012-2016 found 23 instances of the disease in 15 regional centres.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Turner notes the risk is small but it's a risk that we should know about and be informed of."

Dr Turner’s research into BIA-ALCL looks into the causes of the disease and with a focus on the hypothesis that toxins induce hyper-proliferation of T cells surrounding the implant as she published in the journal Mutation Research in 2014.

By investigating the mechanisms causing the disease, Dr Turner and her colleagues aim to prevent BIA-ALCL occurring in the future.

30 Nov 2018