Major Study Links Two New Genetic Variants to Breast Cancer
A worldwide study of the DNA of 100,000 women has discovered two new genetic variants associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. The genetic variants are specifically linked to the most common form of breast cancer, estrogen receptor positive, and provide important insights into how the disease develops.
Scientists believe screening women for all the genetic variants so far identified could eventually pick out those at highest risk of breast cancer and improve strategies for preventing the disease.
The study was led by scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and was published in the journal Human Molecular Genetics. It analyzed the DNA of around 86,000 women of European, 12,000 of Asian and 2,000 of African ancestries, around half of whom had breast cancer.
The study's identification of two new genetic risk factors for breast cancer provides important clues about the causes of the disease – implicating a gene called KLF4, which is thought to help control the way cells grow and divide.
The research involved scientists from more than 130 institutions worldwide, also including the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the University of Cambridge. It was funded by a range of organizations including Cancer Research UK, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the European Union.