ROCHESTER, Minn. – A research team led by Fergus Couch, Ph.D., a geneticist at Mayo Clinic, has identified specific genes associated with an increased risk for developing triple-negative breast cancer. Their research was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
“Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive type of cancer that cannot be treated using targeted therapies,” says Dr. Couch. “It accounts for 15 percent of breast cancer in the Caucasian population and 35 percent in the African-American population. It is also associated with a high risk of recurrence and a poor five-year survival rate. Our findings provide the basis for better risk management.”
Dr. Couch says germ line genetic testing, which evaluates inherited genetic changes that increase the risk of certain cancers in an individual, has helped identify women at increased risk of breast cancer. However, he says it has been more difficult to identify women at elevated risk of triple-negative breast cancer because only inherited mutations in BRCA1 have been linked to this subtype of breast cancer.
Dr. Couch and his colleagues performed genetic testing on 10,901 patients with triple-negative breast cancer from two studies. They tested 21 cancer predisposition genes in 8,753 patients and 17
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