Faulty gene puts women at high risk of ovarian cancer

8 August 2011

A faulty copy of the RAD51D gene has been shown to present an increased risk of developing ovarian cancer, possibly posing significant advances in the field of cancer treatment.

In what is being hailed as the most significant discovery for ovarian cancer diagnosis and detection for more than a decade, research published yesterday (August 7th) in the Nature Genetics journal illustrated how women with the particular gene have an almost one in 11 chance of developing the disease.

The investigation performed by the Institute of Cancer Research studied DNA from a total of 911 families with ovarian and breast cancer histories and compared it with a control group of 1,060 people. They found a total of eight faults in the RAD51D gene of cancer sufferers compared to just one in the genes of the control group.

Similar molecular level research into cancer recently unveiled how certain changes in blood protein could be used to indicate the onset of particular types of breast cancer. Studies freshly published in the US Cancer Research journal indicated how proteins corresponding to the disease began to react differently long before the cancer was clinically detectable.

Posted by Edward Bartel

1 Loveday, Chey and Clare Turnbull, et al., "Germline mutations in RAD51D confer susceptibility to ovarian cancer". Nature Genetics. Sunday August 7th 2011.

2 Pitteri, Sharon J., et al. "Tumor Microenvironment–Derived Proteins Dominate the Plasma Proteome Response during Breast Cancer Induction and Progression". Cancer Research. Monday August 1st 2011.

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