Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A New Breast Cancer Susceptibility Gene

02.04.2012
Mutations in a gene called XRCC2 cause increased breast cancer risk, according to a study published today in the American Journal of Human Genetics. The study looked at families that have a history of the disease but do not have mutations in the currently known breast cancer susceptibility genes.

Sean Tavtigian, Ph.D., a Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) investigator and associate professor in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah (U of U) is one of three co-principal investigators on the study, along with David Goldgar, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Dermatology at the U of U and an HCI investigator, and Melissa Southey, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

“We have added to the list of genes that harbour mutations causing breast cancer,” said Tavtigian. “This knowledge will improve breast cancer diagnostics and add years to patients’ lives. More important, relatives who have not been affected by the disease but carry the mutations will benefit even more. They can find out they are at risk before they have cancer and take action to reduce their risk or catch the cancer early.”

XRCC2 may also provide a new target for chemotherapy. “A type of drug called a PARP inhibitor appears to kill tumor cells that have gene mutations in a particular DNA repair pathway. XRCC2 is in this pathway, as are BRCA1 and BRCA2. It’s reasonably likely that a breast cancer patient who has a mutation in XRCC2 will respond well to treatment with PARP inhibitors,” said Tavtigian.

According to Tavtigian, many breast cancer cases appear in families with a weak history of the disease. Only about 30 percent of the familial risk for breast cancer can be explained by a combination of mutations to and common sequence variation in the known breast cancer susceptibility genes. “So far most of the clinical diagnostic effort has been directed toward the very strong family history set of breast cancer cases and their close relatives,” he said. “Our research looks at a population with a weaker family history, and as it turns out, a very rare gene mutation.”

The researchers used a technology called exome capture massively parallel sequencing (exome sequencing), which shows the exact order of the nucleotides (the four building blocks of DNA) in all of the protein coding genes in the human genome. The ability of this technology to analyze the DNA of all of the genes in the genome in a single experiment, according to Tavtigian, makes it an amazingly powerful tool for genetic research. “We focused on the genes involved in a particular type of DNA repair, because most known breast cancer genes have been found there. That focused analysis allowed us to identify XRCC2 as a breast cancer susceptibility gene in individuals with a family history of breast cancer,” says Tavtigian. “From the exome sequencing data, we found two different types of XRCC2 mutations that occur in breast cancer patients.”

He explains that one type of mutation causes the gene to create an incomplete version of the protein. The resulting protein is usually dysfunctional. The other type occurs when a single amino acid in the protein is changed.

“It’s a subtle change to the protein, but the resulting change in function could range anywhere from innocuous to even worse dysfunction than the incomplete protein causes,” says Tavtigian. “Our sequence analyses suggest that we may have found the full spectrum of results in our study.”

Further research is underway. “A worldwide effort has already been launched to figure out what fraction of breast cancer is due to mutations in this gene and how high the risk conferred by these mutations actually is,” he says.

The article lists 30 co-authors from HCI, the U of U, and other research organizations based in North America, Australia, and Europe. The study was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (R01CA155767 and R01CA121245) plus several other worldwide research foundations. The study also benefited from resources gathered by the Breast Cancer Family Registry, the Kathleen Cuningham Foundation Consortium for Research into Familial Breast Cancer, and several other breast cancer research efforts taking place around the world.

The mission of Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah is to understand cancer from its beginnings, to use that knowledge in the creation and improvement of cancer treatments, to relieve the suffering of cancer patients, and to provide education about cancer risk, prevention, and care. HCI is a National Cancer Institute-Designated cancer center, which means that it meets the highest national standards for cancer care and research and receives support for its scientific endeavors. HCI is also a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), a not-for-profit alliance of the world’s leading cancer centers that is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. For more information about HCI, please visit www.huntsmancancer.org.

Linda Aagard | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.huntsmancancer.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>