Breast Cancer Diagnosis Could be Improved by Assessing 77 Risk Genes

Breast Cancer Diagnosis Could be Improved by Assessing 77 Risk Genes
shutterstock_61648807Every day we hear about a new gene that can disclose the risk of a disease. All of this information is confusing, for patients, researchers and healthcare providers. What if genetic information could be compiled into one signature of disease risk? Breast cancer researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, have done exactly that. In a new study that appeared April 2 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), scientists combined 77 different genes to create a single risk score. The tool could be very useful for both the diagnosis of cancer and for predicting who is most likely to get the disease. Breast cancer is next most common cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer. The chance of a woman dying from breast cancer is approximately 3%. Death from breast cancer has gone down since 1989, most likely due to earlier detection through improved screening, as well as improved awareness and treatment. Mayo Clinic researchers studied genetic information from over 60,000 women to make what they referred to as a "polygenic risk score." To create the score, they compiled data from 33,673 breast cancer patients and 33,381 healthy subjects. Not only did the score assist with prediction, it allowed the researchers to place different women into different risk categories, including high and low risk catego
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