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Gene test for breast cancer

1st May 2012

Researchers have said that a new type of genetic testing could identify women who are at risk of developing breast cancer in the future.

breastcancer

A study by a team at Imperial College London discovered that the danger of a woman getting the disease was doubled if her genes had changed by being exposed to smoke, alcohol, pollution and other factors.

The team said their findings could be used to make a blood test which would show which women were at the highest risk of breast cancer.

The team took blood samples from 1,380 women who did not have the disease and examined them to see if the changing of a gene by methylation showed if women were more in danger of developing breast cancer.

The research showed that women who had the highest levels of methylation had twice the risk of the disease.

James Flanagan, of Imperial College London, told the Daily Mail: "We know that genetic variation contributes to a person’s risk of disease. With this new study we can now also say that epigenetic variation, or differences in how genes are modified, also has a role."

"We hope this research is just the beginning of our understanding about the epigenetic component of breast cancer risk. The challenge will be how to incorporate all of this new information into the computer models that are currently used for individual risk prediction."

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