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article imageBreast cancer rates lower among Latina women

By Tim Sandle     Oct 25, 2014 in Science
A genome-wide association study has identified that a specific gene could help explain the relatively low rates of breast cancer among Latina women.
There are differences in the general population in relation to the risks of developing breast cancer. With the U.S., Latina women have a less than 10 percent lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, while the rate is about 13 percent for non-Hispanic white women and 11 percent for black women. To help to understand this, a new genetic analysis of more than 11,000 women has identified a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in association with an estrogen receptor gene. This SNP may contribute to the decreased risk within the Latina female population.
The study found that around 20 percent of Latina women in the U.S. carry one copy of the protective allele, while 1 percent carry two copies. With those carrying one copy, there was an association with a 40 percent decrease in the risk of breast cancer; whereas for those women carrying two copies, the risk was 80 percent lower. The variant is more prevalent in women with indigenous American ancestry.
According to The New York Times, the precise effect of the SNP is not known. However, women with the low-risk variant tend to have less dense breast tissue, which is known to decrease the risk of cancer. The new finding presents an opportunity for researchers to understand more about breast cancer and to develop effective treatments.
The findings have been published in the journal Nature Communications, in a study headed "Genome-wide association study of breast cancer in Latinas identifies novel protective variants on 6q25."
More about Latina women, Breast Cancer, Genes
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