Researchers identify new genes linked to breast cancer

Evan Walker
Evan Walker TheMediTary.Com |
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Scientists have identified new genes linked to breast cancer. Ted Horowitz Photography/Getty Images
  • Researchers analyzed genetic data to identify new genes linked to breast cancer.
  • They found several new genes that may be linked to the condition.
  • Further research is needed to know how variants on these genes affect breast cancer risk.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer globally, accounting for around 12.5% of new cancer cases worldwide. Genetic testing can be used to assess risk for the condition. Current tests consider risk variants on a small number of genes, including BRCA1, BRCA2, and PALB2.

However, known variants explain less than half of the familial relative risk of breast cancer, which is the probability of developing a condition if a family member has had it before. How much rare coding variants in other genes account for breast cancer risk remains largely unknown.

Understanding more about different breast cancer genes could improve the accuracy of genetic testing for predicting breast cancer risk.

Recently, researchers analyzed genetic data from 244,041 women to identify new gene variants linked to breast cancer. They found evidence for several new breast cancer risk genes and potential evidence for others.

The study was published in Nature Genetics.

“The study helps to identify additional genes that could be inherited and increase risk or explain family history of breast cancer. This becomes the launching pad for the next generation of data to help explain for the nearly 50% of individuals with family history that is not currently explained with genetics that we have available.”
— Dr. Louise Morrell, medical director of Lynn Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, who was not involved in the study, speaking to Medical News Today.

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