According to a recent study, a rare genetic condition has uncovered an unexpected link to breast cancer. Fanconi anaemia is an unusual childhood genetic disorder marked by bone marrow failure. If the child survives to adulthood, they are at high risk of a number of cancers, including brain, head and neck, and breast.
Researchers at the Faber Cancer Institute and the Children's Hospital, Boston, have been studying a number of Fanconi families. They already know that mutations in any one of six genes causes the condition. This new research shows a previously unknown interaction between these genes and the known breast cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2. In other words, they have discovered a pathway on which just one mistake can prevent normal DNA repair processes. This discovery could lead to new tests for breast cancer susceptibility and even advances in treatments, which could target the damaged genes.