Study Identifies Breast Cancer Genes Specific to East Asians

A study published in the July 20 issue of the journal Nature Genetics has identified several genetic traits linking women of East Asian descent to an increased risk of breast cancer. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Vanderbilt University in tandem with the Asian Breast Cancer Consortium. Wei Zheng, who helped author of the study, is a professor of cancer research at the university.

Zheng, along with first author Qiuyin Cai and other researchers, observed genome associations between 22,780 women and 24,181 control subjects taken from studies held across 14 Asian countries.

Ultimately, through comparing the genome information and observing DNA sequence changes in particular genes, the researchers were able to identify three genes that most commonly alter in cases of breast cancer in East Asian women. Two of these genes, ARRDC3 and PRC1, had already been linked to breast cancer in prior studies. The third, ZC3H11A, had not, and it's role in the disease is still largely unknown, despite it frequently being found in an altered form in East Asian breast cancer patients.

While the immediate impact of this study and the risks posed by the specific genes are small, the study's conclusions indicate a step forward in breast cancer research. Scholars believe that further identification of genes involved in breast cancer development holds the next step towards finding a cure.

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