Genetic marker for sporadic breast cancer identified

Medical researchers have pinpointed a genetic marker for sporadic breast cancer which accounts for 80% of all cases.

Researchers at the University of Alberta have identified many genetic markers for familial breast cancers, but not for sporadic breast cancer.

The DNA of over 7,000 Alberta women, including those who have had sporadic breast cancer and those who have not had cancer was scanned.

Women who had sporadic breast cancer frequently had a genetic marker on chromosome 4 - a marker that has never been associated with familial breast cancer cases.

Professor Sambasivarao Damaraju, of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and a researcher at the Cross Cancer Institute, said: "The frequency of this marker occurring was statistically significant. While 60 to 70 genetic risk factors have been identified for familial breast cancer, we don't know much about the genetic risk factors for sporadic breast cancer. So this finding is exciting, and shows us more research is needed in this area."

Lifestyle factors account for two-thirds of the risk associated with breast cancer, while the remaining one-third of the risk is attributed to genetics, Damaraju noted.

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