Scientists from Weill Cornell Medical College have identified a new form of inherited risk of cancer that may help in predicting susceptibility to the disease.
The new study led by Dr. Francis Barany, professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College has discovered some parts of the genome that are strikingly similar among people from a particular population group who have the same type of cancer.
This "autozygosity" (identical copies of DNA inherited from both parents) may assist researchers in identifying novel cancer-causing genes.
The study was conducted over 74 colorectal cancer patients. The researchers discovered Identity by Descent (IBD) segments that are the same in sequence (autozygous) among individuals who have colorectal cancer. About half the cases are of Jewish heritage.
The simplest explanation for their IBD segments is that they were inherited from a long-ago, shared ancestor.
They compared IBD regions among the patients with two control groups, and found the segments to be twice as numerous and longer among the cancer patients.
The IBD regions reveal where researchers should look for novel genes, which contribute to the overall risk for this cancer.
The study "The Signatures of Autozygosity Among Patients with Colorectal Cancer," will appear online on March 28, and in print on April 15, in the journal Cancer Research.