Back to Journals » The Application of Clinical Genetics » Volume 4

The genetics of breast cancer: risk factors for disease

Authors Andrew Collins, Ioannis Politopoulos

Published 7 January 2011 Volume 2011:4 Pages 11—19

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/TACG.S13139

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Andrew Collins, Ioannis Politopoulos
Genetic Epidemiology and Bioinformatics Research Group, Human Genetics Research Division, Southampton General Hospital, School of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK

Abstract: The genetic factors known to be involved in breast cancer risk comprise about 30 genes. These include the high-penetrance early-onset breast cancer genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, a number of rare cancer syndrome genes, and rare genes with more moderate penetrance. A larger group of common variants has more recently been identified through genome-wide association studies. Quite a number of these common variants are mapped to genomic regions without being firmly associated with specific genes. It is thought that most of these variants have gene regulatory functions, but their precise roles in disease susceptibility are not well understood. Common variants account for only a small percentage of the risk of disease because they have low penetrance. Collectively, the breast cancer genes identified to date contribute only ~30% of the familial risk. Therefore, there is much interest in accounting for the missing heritability, and possible sources include loss of information through ignoring phenotype heterogeneity (disease subtypes have genetic differences), gene–gene and gene–environment interaction, and rarer forms of variation. Identification of these rarer variations in coding regions is now feasible and cost effective through exome sequencing, which has already identified high-penetrance variants for some rare diseases. Targeting more ‘extreme’ breast cancer phenotypes, particularly cases with early-onset disease, a strong family history (not accounted for by BRCA mutations), and with specific tumor subtypes, provides a route to progress using next-generation sequencing methods.

Keywords: breast cancer, common and rare genetic variation, missing heritability, bioinformatics, exome sequencing

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]

 

Readers of this article also read:

Emerging and future therapies for hemophilia

Carr ME, Tortella BJ

Journal of Blood Medicine 2015, 6:245-255

Published Date: 3 September 2015

Methacrylic-based nanogels for the pH-sensitive delivery of 5-Fluorouracil in the colon

Ashwanikumar N, Kumar NA, Nair SA, Kumar GS

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:5769-5779

Published Date: 15 November 2012

A novel preparation method for silicone oil nanoemulsions and its application for coating hair with silicone

Hu Z, Liao M, Chen Y, Cai Y, Meng L, Liu Y, Lv N, Liu Z, Yuan W

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:5719-5724

Published Date: 12 November 2012

Cross-linked acrylic hydrogel for the controlled delivery of hydrophobic drugs in cancer therapy

Deepa G, Thulasidasan AK, Anto RJ, Pillai JJ, Kumar GS

International Journal of Nanomedicine 2012, 7:4077-4088

Published Date: 27 July 2012

Crystallization after intravitreal ganciclovir injection

Pitipol Choopong, Nattaporn Tesavibul, Nattawut Rodanant

Clinical Ophthalmology 2010, 4:709-711

Published Date: 14 July 2010