Examen
Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_96232

Seventy-two new gene targets for breast cancer found

30 October 2017
Appeared in BioNews 924

Two studies have discovered 72 new genetic variants associated with the risk of developing breast cancer.

One study focused on the 30 percent of resistant breast cancer which do not respond to conventional hormone treatment, and identified ten new variants.

'These findings add significantly to our understanding of the inherited basis of breast cancer,' said Dr Doug Easton of the University of Cambridge, one of the lead investigators. 'As well as identifying new genetic variants, we have also confirmed many that we had previously suspected. There are some clear patterns in the genetic variants that should help us understand why some women are predisposed to breast cancer, and which genes and mechanisms are involved.'

The research was carried out by the OncoArray consortium, which includes more than 550 researchers at 300 research facilities worldwide.

First-degree relatives of breast cancer patients show twice the risk of breast cancer, compared to women without a family history of the disease. However, while there are 180 known genetic variants which increase risk, most of the genetic basis is unknown.

The scientists performed two GWAS studies of over 275,000 breast cancer and control patients of European or East Asian ancestry, using a chip called the OncoArray, and combined their findings with data from past studies. The OncoArray chip identifies single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the genome, but particularly in regions thought to be related to cancer.

In one study, published in Nature, the scientists identified 65 new variants which can explain four percent of the heritable risk of breast cancer.

In the second study, published in Nature Genetics, the scientists focused on hormone-resistant breast cancer. They identified ten new variants which were linked to 1.5 percent of heritable risk, including three variants also identified in the Nature study.

Although a few mutations, such as those found in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, can greatly increase the risk of breast cancer, the variants identified in the studies are common and some are carried by over 50 percent of women. Each variant confers only a small amount of risk, but combine to increase overall risk. Most did not code for proteins, but were in regions involved in regulation of genetic expression.

The team say their findings could provide new avenues of research for the genetic basis of breast cancer, particularly for hormone therapy-resistant disease. In combination with other factors influencing risk, their data could also help identify women at a high risk of breast cancer, who may benefit from tailored treatment.

'These women may benefit from more intensive screening, starting at a younger age, or using more sensitive screening techniques, allowing early detection and prevention of the disease,' said team member Professor Jacques Simard of Laval University in Quebec, Canada.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Association analysis identifies 65 new breast cancer risk loci
Nature |  23 October 2017
Breast Cancer Study Finds 72 New Genetic Risk Variants
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News |  24 October 2017
Breast cancer study uncovers new genetic variants for increased risk
The Guardian |  23 October 2017
Genetic Risk Factors for Breast Cancer Identified
The Scientist |  23 October 2017
Identification of ten variants associated with risk of estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer
Nature Genetics |  23 October 2017
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
8 May 2018 - by Dr James Heather 
Genetic testing could reveal a subset of patients with aggressive breast cancer who would benefit from a non-standard treatment, a clinical trial has found...
19 March 2018 - by Dr Loredana Guglielmi 
A new study has identified 110 genes associated with an increased risk of breast cancer...
22 January 2018 - by Dr Molly Godfrey 
The blanket screening of all women over 30 for genetic mutations which cause breast and, or ovarian cancer could prevent more cancers and be more cost effective than current approaches, according to a new study...
15 January 2018 - by Hannah Somers 
A new study has found that BRCA gene mutations do not affect the survival rates of breast cancer patients under 40...
13 November 2017 - by Dr Loredana Guglielmi 
Researchers have introduced new criteria to screen for BRCA gene mutations that could prevent more than 10,000 cases of cancer and save more than 2000 lives in the next decade...
16 October 2017 - by Hannah Somers 
A new genetic test to accurately predict an individual's risk of developing breast cancer will soon be rolled out at two hospital clinics in Manchester...
9 October 2017 - by Dr Loredana Guglielmi 
A major breakthrough in understanding how mutations in the BRCA1 gene raise cancer risk has been made by researchers in the USA...
24 April 2017 - by Dr James Heather 
Researchers have discovered a new approach to slow the rate of breast cancer tumour growth in mice...
20 March 2017 - by Dr Molly Godfrey 
A genetic study of breast cancer patients suggests that existing drugs for treating rare breast and ovarian cancers may help more patients than previously thought...
HAVE YOUR SAY
Log in to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.