Following the identification of no fewer than four new genes linked with this disease, a blood test may help better identify women who are at risk for breast cancer.
Important genes like BRCA1 are already well-known to be associated with breast cancer.
However, researchers have recently discovered four previously undiscovered genes, one of which may increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer by five times.
The discovery suggests that future blood tests used to assess the hereditary risk of breast cancer may detect women who would have been ignored in the past.
Names for the four discovered genes are MAP3K1, LZTR1, SAMHD1, and CDKN2A. The first key genes associated with breast cancer, BRCA1 and BRCA2, were only found in the 1990s.
The NHS now offers blood tests to women who have a family history of breast cancer to help them understand their hereditary risk; in the future, it might be able to offer such tests to all women.
However, even the five most significant breast cancer genes can only account for around 10% of the elevated risk that women inherit from their families.
The four genes we’ve identified contribute to an additional 1% of the variance, which is a significant step toward identifying thousands of women at higher risk of breast cancer and providing them with more frequent screenings.
Future genetic tests will be improved and made more accurate as a result.
Potential Breast Cancer Risk Factors: A Study of Genes in Nature Genetics
The research, which was published in the journal Nature Genetics, compared the genes of approximately 217,000 healthy women to those of more than 26,000 breast cancer patients.
With just four letters—A, G, C, and T, which stand for chemicals—each gene in the human body is like a book that contains directions for the body to build proteins.
Researchers searched the text for single-letter “typos” that would prohibit the body from producing or interfering with the function of a protein crucial for avoiding breast cancer.
Although it is uncommon, they believe that such an error in the MAP3K1 gene could increase a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer by a factor of five.
Even while the study, which was carried out in conjunction with Laval University in Canada, has only so far discovered four genes, it is possible that up to 90 other genes may one day be connected to breast cancer.
In order to identify whichever of these 90 genes are genuinely significant, researchers must now examine a bigger sample of women.
Similar to earlier discovered genes, the four new genes may raise the possibility of breast cancer by preventing proteins that either prevent tumor cells from growing fast or prevent DNA errors that can lead to tumors from being duplicated.
Source: Daily Mail