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First genetic link discovered to difficult-to-diagnose breast cancer sub-type
Date:4/17/2014

ot show up on mammograms. As a result, women with this type of cancer tend to be diagnosed when the cancer is more advanced and more difficult to treat.

As well as looking for new genetic risk factors, the researchers also evaluated 75 variants previously linked with breast cancer overall. They found that most of these were associated with risk of invasive lobular cancer specifically, as well as overall breast cancer risk.

The study also showed for the first time that genetic factors for invasive breast cancer can also predispose to lobular carcinoma in situ.

Study co-leader Professor Montserrat Garcia-Closas, Professor of Epidemiology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said:

"Our study is the first to link a genetic variant specifically with a higher risk of invasive lobular carcinoma, which accounts for around 10 to 15 per cent of all cases. It also finds that more than 50 previously discovered variants specifically increase the risk of lobular tumours, as well as making breast cancer overall more likely.

"Understanding the genetic factors at work in lobular cancers could be particularly important, because they are often missed by mammography because of their unusual growth patterns. In the future, we hope that improving our knowledge of the genes involved in lobular carcinoma could improve our ability to prevent and treat it."

Study co-author Dr Elinor Sawyer, Clinical Reader in Oncology at King's College London and Guys and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, said,

"A diagnosis of breast cancer can be devastating, particularly if it is not picked up early and the cancer is at a stage when it may be more difficult to treat. This can be the case for lobular breast cancers as they are difficult to see on mammograms. By identifying genetic factors that result in an increased risk of lobular cancer we hope in the future to be able to find better ways of assessing the risk of developing these cancers, so diff
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Contact: Henry French
henry.french@icr.ac.uk
44-207-153-5582
Institute of Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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