Thursday, March 28, 2013

Huge cancer study uncovers 74 genetic risk factors

One of the largest cancer genetics studies ever conducted adds a wealth of information about the disease, but also highlights continuing difficulties with predicting cancer risk.

The studies found 74 new SNPs linked to the cancers, doubling the known common risk variants linked to them. It also found that many were linked to more than one cancer.
“This indicates common underlying functional mechanisms at some of these susceptibility loci, and could lead to the identification of common biomarkers and therapeutic targets for intervention across several disease sites,” says geneticist Simon Gayther of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Long way to go

But most of the common genetic risk factors for these cancers remain unknown. The COGS researchers estimate that they can now account for just 28% of the risk of familial breast cancer, 4% of the risk of ovarian cancer and 30% of the risk of prostate cancer123. Just asking whether a woman has any relatives with breast cancer still reveals as much about her risk of developing the disease as would surveying her SNPs.
Hat tip to Ryan Dhindsa

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