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Identical Genes From Parents May Raise Cancer Risk
Date:3/25/2008

oughout the genome in 385 breast, prostate and head and neck cancer patients and in people without cancer.

All patients were of the same ethnic group.

"Lo and behold, in 16 markers, let's call them 'hot spots,' there were high frequencies of homozygosity compared to the controls," Eng said.

The association was then validated in patients with lung cancer. This time, they streamed through 250,000 markers across the human genome and found that cancer patients were more likely to have homozygosity in the same 16 markers.

"We are saying that lack of genetic diversity or uniformity in hot spots in 16 places seems to be associated with common cancers," Eng said. "This is a novel means of cancer predisposition."

"We don't know the mechanism yet," she added. "Right now, it's an association."

The study authors have postulated that this homozygosity occurs at "common" fragile sites on the genome, sites that are susceptible to DNA damage. These are to be distinguished from "rare" fragile sites that are also sensitive to such damage but are more likely to be associated with less common cancers.

More information

For more on different types of cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.



SOURCES: Charis Eng, M.D., Ph.D., director, Genomic Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic Foundation; March 26, 2008, Journal of the American Medical Association


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