Gene Increases Risk in Breast Cancer Families
28 Oct 2005 - Close relatives of women who have had cancer in both breasts and also carry a faulty version of the CHEK2 gene have a greatly increased risk of developing breast cancer - according to a report in the Lancet.*
The incidence of breast and other cancers among the parents, brothers, sisters and children of 469 women who had bilateral cancer (affecting both breasts) was ascertained in a study led by Institute scientist Professor Julian Peto.
Women were tested for a possible breast cancer gene called CHEK2. Almost one in three women with the normal version of the CHEK2 gene had a close relative with breast cancer. But six of the seven women who carried the faulty version of the gene had at least one first degree relative with breast cancer.
Study leader Professor Peto commented: "Relatives of women with bilateral breast cancer plus a normal CHEK2 gene have their breast cancer risk trebled. But relatives of those who carry the faulty gene have an even higher risk. Our study also shows for the first time that fathers and brothers of bilateral breast cancer patients have a substantially increased risk of prostate cancer. This risk also seems to be further increased in male relatives who carry the faulty CHEK2 gene."
*Vol. 366; Issue: 9496
Find out more about The Institute's Section of Epidemiology.