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article imageGenetic mutations increase risk of breast cancer

By Tim Sandle     Jan 16, 2014 in Health
New York - Although evidence suggests that breast cancer has a genetic link, new research suggests that the chance of developing cancer is linked to gene mutations.
Researchers from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York have examined whether a specific mutations (or "epigenetic modification") can be associated to breast cancer family history in unaffected women from high-risk breast cancer families. The researchers were attempting to understand why some women who should, in theory, develop breast cancer based on their inherited genes do not do so.
The answer they found was that a mutation needs to occur in the inherited genes in order for the risk of the cancer developing to occur. The type of mutation is triggered by changes to DNA, specifically a process called DNA methylation. DNA methylation is a biochemical process involving the addition of a methyl group to one of the component bases that make up the genetic code.
The research findings suggest that the levels of DNA methylation in white blood cells from cancer-free women could be one of the factors playing a role in the clustering of breast cancer in families with extensive cancer histories within its members.
The findings have been reported in the journal Epigenetics. The paper is titled “Changes in DNA methylation by extent of breast cancer family history in unaffected women.”
More about Breast Cancer, Cancer, Genes, Mutation, Genetics
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