Gene Identified in Breast Cancer of Asian Women

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center investigators have discovered that Chromosome 6 has an area that is linked with breast cancer in Asian women. It is now recommended that Asian women should be regularly screened from 35 or 40 onwards.

Scientist already know that genetics plays a role in the disease and that some breast cancer susceptibility genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, account for only a small part of all genetic causes. Mutations in these genes increase the risk of inherited forms of breast cancers. Most of the genetic factors responsible for the vast majority of cases are still undiscovered.

The research team assessed the families of 277 women in whom mutations in the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 had been identified. Of these women, 190 had breast cancer, 48 had ovarian cancer, and 33 had both. Only six were free of cancer.

Based on their findings, the researchers calculated that first degree relatives testing negative for BRCA1 and 2 still had around three times the risk of developing breast cancer by the age of 50 as compared to the general population.

This discovery of the link between Asian breast cancer and Chromosome 6 will be written up in the journal, Nature Genetics.

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