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5 genetic variations increase risk of ovarian cancer
Date:3/27/2013

DURHAM, N.C. -- An international research collaboration has found five new regions of the human genome that are linked to increased risks for developing ovarian cancer. Duke Medicine researchers played a leading role analyzing genetic information from more than 40,000 women.

The findings are published in four studies, two appearing in the journal Nature Communications and two in Nature Genetics on March 27, 2013. The research is being published as part of a coordinated release of new data from the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study (COGS), an international effort to identify genetic variations that make certain people susceptible to developing breast, prostate and ovarian cancers.

According to the National Cancer Institute, ovarian cancer accounts for 3 percent of all cancers in women and is the leading cause of death among cancers of the female reproductive system. This is due to the lack of early symptoms or effective screening tests.

Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes dramatically increase ovarian cancer risk. Genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations can identify women who would benefit most from surgery to prevent ovarian cancer, but this is relevant to less than 1 percent of the population. Other genetic variants that are more common may also affect ovarian risk. The Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium previously described six such genetic differences and now the COGS project has found five more.

"Because ovarian cancer is relatively uncommon, it is critically important to identify subsets of women at increased risk," said senior coauthor Andrew Berchuck, MD, director of the division of gynecologic oncology at Duke Cancer Institute. "Although the common genetic risk variants for ovarian cancer discovered thus far are not strong enough to use in practice, this may become a reality as additional variants are discovered. This could facilitate development of ovarian can
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Contact: Rachel Harrison
rachel.harrison@duke.edu
919-419-5069
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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