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Gene clue found in breast cancer

10th May 2010

Researchers in the UK have found five genes which could explain why some women have an inherited risk of breast cancer.

breastcancer

The scientists, from Cambridge University, looked at the genetic codes of 4,000 British females with a family history of the disease.

The project, which is the biggest to date and received funding from Cancer Research UK, could lead to methods of screening and treating women at risk of the disease.

It is believed that one in 20 cases of breast cancer are caused by faulty genes which are passed on through families.

The disease is the most prevalent type of cancer in the UK, with over 45,500 cases diagnosed annually.

The new research also studied the DNA of 24,000 females who did and did not have breast cancer.

The scientists saw five "spots" on the human genome which were associated with a family history of the disease. 13 had previously been identified, bringing to 18 the number of faulty genes which cause a higher risk of breast cancer.

Dr Douglas Easton of the University of Cambridge, said to the BBC: "We know for sure that these gene variations are associated with risk. It is not the whole picture but it will contribute ultimately to genetic profiling of risk."

"It also contributes to our understanding of why the disease develops and will lead to a better understanding of the biology of the disease."

 

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