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Gene Variant Raises Risk of Uterine Fibroids

Mutation discovered more common in white women, but different genes might raise risk in black women

TUESDAY, Feb. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have found a genetic marker that may indicate if a woman has a greater chance of developing uterine fibroids, a new study says.

Shorter, white women who test positive for the TC227 allele in their HMGA2 gene may be more likely to develop the muscular tumors in their uterus, according to a study of 248 pairs of sisters and their relatives. HMGA2 is linked to a person's height and the TC227 allele may be part of the gene.

"This genetic indicator could prove, after further investigations, to be valuable information for women making decisions about medical management of fibroids," senior study author Cynthia Morton, a director of cytogenetics at Brigham and Women's Hospital. "A woman with symptomatic fibroids might one day undergo diagnostic testing for the TC227 allele to determine whether she's genetically predisposed to develop additional fibroids."

The research appears online in Human Genetics.

Only white women were studied because the TC227 allele is much less common in black women.

"We believe that there are multiple genetic indicators for fibroids, in addition to the TC227 allele in white women, including genetic risk alleles for predisposition specific in black women who suffer an earlier age of onset and more severe fibroid symptoms," Morton said.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about uterine fibroids.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: Brigham and Women's Hospital, news release, February 2009

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