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The Deadly Pair of Genes Increases the Risk of Breast Cancer among Europeans

by Medindia Content Team on June 20, 2006 at 4:35 PM
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The Deadly Pair of Genes Increases the Risk of Breast Cancer among Europeans

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer it was found that breast cancer affected 1.2 million women globally and resulted in the death of 400,000 every year. According to the research conducted by the team, at Iceland's Decode Genetics it was found that the deadly combination of BRCA2 and BARD1 variant increased the risk of breast cancer from 45% to 100% in susceptible women. This combination proved to be deadly only among women of European heritage. The study results were published in the online journal Public Library of Science Medicine. It is a well known fact that mutation in two of the genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 would result in breast cancer.

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Decode chief executive Kari Stefansson said that women with BARD1 variant developed tumors in both the breasts. Breast cancer is a common genetic disorder although most cases occur in people with no family history of the disease. Several genes are known to cause breast cancer BRCA1, BRCA2 genes, p53 and others. The BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations account only for about 3 % of all cases of the disease. The researchers analysed 1,090 women in Iceland who had breast cancer, and compared them to 703 Icelandic women who did not suffer from the disease. The results were that BARD1 mutation was found in 5.4 % of breast cancer patients and 3.1 % of women who did not have breast cancer indicating an 80 % increase in risk. BARD1 mutation alone was not dangerous to a woman, but a combination of both mutations on BRCA2 plus BARD1 variant caused a dramatic increase in the risk of breast cancer. This BARD1 mutation is restricted to individuals with European ancestry and could contribute to the higher load of breast cancer seen in this group.

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