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10 May 2010

Breast cancer gene clue discovery

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Five genetic clues to why some women have a family history of breast cancer have been identified by UK researchers
It brings to 18 the number of common genetic variations linked to a small increased risk of breast cancer.

The Cambridge University-led research, published in Nature Genetics, could see targeted screening and treatment of women more likely to get breast cancer. It is thought about one in 20 of all breast cancers are down to inherited faults in known genes.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK with more than 45,500 new cases diagnosed each year. The precise reasons why a woman develops the disease are still unknown.

However, inherited, environmental and lifestyle factors are all thought to play a role. In the largest project of its kind and funded by Cancer Research UK, the researchers scanned the entire genetic code of around 4,000 British patients with a family history of breast cancer. They then studied the DNA of another 24,000 women, with and without breast cancer.

The researchers found five "spots" on the human genome linked to a family history of breast cancer. Another 13 have already been located.

Scientists also know about two high risk genes which are more likely to be defective in someone with breast cancer, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2.


(BBC News)

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