Another gene mutation increases breast cancer risk
New research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that women with a mutation in a gene known as PALB2 have a one in three chance of developing breast cancer by age 70.
It's already been established that women with mutations in genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 are more likely to develop breast cancer. Some women who have mutations in one or both of those genes have their breasts removed as a precaution against cancer.
In determining that PALB2 is another gene with potential links to breast cancer, researchers analyzed data from 154 families without BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, and that included 362 family members with PALB2 gene mutations. They found that women who carried mutations in PALB2 had, on average, a 35 percent chance of developing breast cancer by the time they were 70 years old.
The authors noted that the risks were highly dependent on family history of breast cancer. Those with more relatives affected by breast cancer were at a greater risk.
Scientists believe that PALB2 could be a candidate to be the third most important genetic risk factor for breast cancer. If a woman is found to have this mutation, the team recommended that she should get additional monitoring, such as MRI breast screening.