London: Faulty Gene Linked To Ovarian Cancer Risk: Research

7 Aug

A single faulty gene has been found to raise the risk of ovarian cancer six-foldEnlarge Photo

A single faulty gene has been found to raise the risk of ovarian cancer six-fold

A single faulty gene has been found to raise the risk of ovarian cancer six-fold, giving a woman more than a one in 11 chance of developing the disease.

The discovery was hailed as a “landmark” by Cancer Research UK.

It paves the way to an early diagnostic test which could be available within two to three years.

Scientists also believe women with the mutation should respond to treatment with a new class of anti-cancer drug.

The medicines, known as PARP inhibitors, also target BRCA 1 and 2 ovarian and breast cancer genes and are currently undergoing clinical trials.

Each year around 6,500 new cases of ovarian cancer are reported in the UK and more than 4,000 women die from the disease.

The cancer has few early symptoms and is often diagnosed at a late and dangerous stage. As a result it claims more lives than cancers of the womb, vagina and vulva combined.

Women in the general population have a one in 70 chance of developing the disease. But for women with the newly identified gene defect the odds rise to one in 11, increasing their risk six times.

Ten years ago scientists discovered that BRCA 1 and 2 genes account for some 10-15% of ovarian cancers.

Since then several other genes have been shown to make small contributions to the disease. But their significance pales next to the faulty RAD51D gene described in the journal Nature Genetics.

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