Genes may increase the risk of developing bone marrow cancer by 30%, according to researchers at UK's Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). Previously it was known that relatives of people with multiple myeloma have a twofold to fourfold increased risk of suffering the disease themselves, but until now, no responsible gene had been identified.
Scientists scanned the DNA of 1,675 patients with multiple myeloma and compared them to the genes of around 5,900 healthy people. They found two genetic variants that were more common in people with multiple myeloma and therefore were linked to a higher chance of developing the disease.
Study author Richard Houston said, "This study is the first to confirm that some people are genetically predisposed to multiple myeloma. By identifying these genetic variants, we are closer to understanding
how this cancer develops. Ultimately, this could lead to improvements
in diagnosis and treatment.
The study has been reported in the Nature Genetics.