Genetic hotspot for breast cancer identified

A new 'genetic hotspot' for breast cancer has been found in Asian women by researchers from the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Centre in Nashville, Tennessee.

The scientists used an approach called "genome-wide association" on a group of over 3,000 women on Shanghai.

Following rounds of validation of 29 of the most popular single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), the researchers narrowed these down to one particular SNP which had "strong and consistent association with breast cancer".

Wei Zheng, professor of cancer research and director of the centre, said the influence of this SNP on breast cancer risk was "very large".

She added it was responsible for an estimated 18 per cent of breast cancer cases, which makes it possibly the worst offender "in terms of effect size".

"If a woman has just one copy of this SNP, her risk of breast cancer increases about 40 percent. With two copies of this SNP, the risk increases about 60 percent," said Zheng.

Research centres in Austria and Germany recently found that bone drug zoledronic acid can help to improve the disease-free survival rates of early stage breast cancer in premenopausal women.