A new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute has identified specific genes associated with increased risk for triple-negative breast cancer, providing the basis for better risk management.
Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive type of cancer that cannot be treated using the most common therapies. 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 high recurrence risk and poor five-year survival rate.
Germline genetic testing can identify women at increased risk of breast cancer by evaluating if there are genetic changes, often inherited from a parent, that increase the risk of certain cancers. However, it has been difficult to identify women at elevated risk of triple-negative breast cancer because only inherited mutations in BRCA1 (a human tumor suppressor gene discovered in 1990) have been linked to this subtype of breast cancer.
Here researchers performed genetic testing on 10,901 triple-negative breast cancer patients from two studies. For 8753 patients, 21 genes were tested, and for the remaining 2148 patients, 17 genes were tested.
Among the genes tested, researchers found that alternations in BARD1, BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, and RAD51D genes were
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