Familial breast cancer: recent advances

Predrag Slijepčević

Abstract


The majority of breast cancer cases are so called sporadic cancers,which do not have a strong genetic component. However,approximately 27% of breast cancer cases are inheritedor familial cancers that result from inheriting pathogenic mutationsin specific genes. Two of these genes, namely BRCA1(BReast CAncer 1) and BRCA2, confer a high risk for breastcancer and are known as high penetrance genes. At least 12more genes associated with breast cancer risk have been identifiedso far. However, these genes are low penetrance genesthat carry a much lower risk for breast cancer than BRCA1and BRCA2. Four of these low penetrance genes have beenidentified recently by a large research consortium led by aresearch group from Cambridge University. It is likely thatfuture research will uncover additional low penetrance breastcancer predisposing genes.

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