Genetic screening could improve breast cancer prevention
A test for a wide range of genetic risk factors could improve doctors’ ability to work out which women are at increased risk of developing breast cancer, a major study of more than 65,000 women has shown.
Breast cancer genes are rarely out of the news, but we’ve now reached a crucial stage at which all this research can be combined to help target screening and advice to those women who need them the most.
- Doug Easton
Improving the accuracy of risk analysis using genetic screening could guide breast cancer prevention in several ways – for instance by offering high-risk women increased monitoring, personalised advice and preventative therapies.
The research, a collaboration of hundreds of research institutions led by the University of Cambridge and the Institute of Cancer Research, London, showed that a test for differences in 77 separate letters of DNA code could indicate a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
The study, the most definitive of its type conducted so far, was funded by a range of organisations including Cancer Research UK and Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and is published today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The researchers came up with a ‘score’ for each woman based on the letters they had in each of the 77 positions of their DNA code, using one of the world’s biggest databases of genetic information – called the Collaborative Oncological Gene-Environment Study (COGS).
Read the full story
Image: Color-enhancement shows magnetic resonance image (MRI) of individual breast
Credit: Dr Steven Harmes. Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas Texas
Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.