Currently, women with a strong family history of cancer can be tested for the BRCA gene, which greatly increases a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Yet experts believe there may be other cases of sporadic ovarian caner that are inherited via the X chromosome females receive from their father. Full story at BBC News
US researchers have used the largest familial study of ovarian cancer to argue that there exists an ovarian cancer susceptibility gene on the X-chromosome acting independently of BRCA1 and BRCA2. This observation implies that there may be many cases of seemingly sporadicovarian cancer that are actually inherited; for example, only daughters who inherit risk from their fathers. This X-linked pattern implies novel ways to prioritize families for screening even without additional testing-sisters must both be carriers or neither; fathers of women with potentially inherited ovarian cancer may receive new attention.
In addition, the scientists found evidence that other cancers affect fathers and sons in these families. Using sequencing technology, we isolated a candidate gene, MAGEC3, that may be associated with earlier onset of ovarian cancer. The further study of this gene and the X-linked pattern will require additional study. (Author summary from PLOS Genetics)
Two-thirds of men with a family history of prostate cancer are dangerously unaware of their increased risk of the disease and half of all UK men don’t know that a family link makes you two-and-a-half times more likely to get it, according to new research by Prostate Cancer UK.
It’s prompted urgent calls from the charity for men and their families to have a potentially life-saving talk about the disease with their relatives and doctor. Especially since an accompanying study showed that only 1-in-10 GPs are likely to always ask a man whether any close relatives have had the disease. Although where men did take the lead and initiate a discussion with their doctor, it found their experiences were overwhelmingly positive.
Everyone who has colorectal cancer diagnosed should be tested for an inherited genetic condition called Lynch syndrome, new guidance states | BMJ
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends microsatellite instability testing or immunohistochemistry to detect abnormalities that may indicate the syndrome.
Lynch syndrome, the most common cause of hereditary bowel cancer, has also been linked to an increased risk of developing other cancers including womb, ovarian, and stomach. People with the condition who develop colorectal cancer generally do so at a younger age, usually 40-50.
Testing for the condition helps to identify whether the patient’s family are also at increased risk of cancer so that they can be monitored more closely if needed, says NICE. Where these tests show that a person has a risk of the syndrome, the guidance recommends further tests to confirm the diagnosis. Because it is an inherited condition, a positive test can also lead to testing of family members.
Diagnosing Lynch syndrome may also help with the choice of treatment for colorectal cancer—for example, to direct chemotherapy or surgery.
Hundreds of thousands of healthy women should take pills to cut their risk of breast cancer, says NHS watchdog NICE | BBC News
The draft guidelines for England say women predisposed to breast cancer because of a strong family history of the disease need this protection.
There are now three drugs to choose from – tamoxifen, raloxifene and, for the first time, anastrozole. Anastrozole is cheaper than the other two and, for some women, has fewer side-effects and is more effective.
Altman, B.J. et al. Nature Reviews Cancer. 16. pp. 619–634
The resurgence of research into cancer metabolism has recently broadened interests beyond glucose and the Warburg effect to other nutrients, including glutamine. Because oncogenic alterations of metabolism render cancer cells addicted to nutrients, pathways involved in glycolysis or glutaminolysis could be exploited for therapeutic purposes. In this Review, we provide an updated overview of glutamine metabolism and its involvement in tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo, and explore the recent potential applications of basic science discoveries in the clinical setting.
Scientists have unearthed crucial new genetic information about how breast cancer develops and the genetic changes which can be linked to survival. via Science Daily
The Cancer Research UK funded researchers, from the University of Cambridge, analysed tumour samples from the METABRIC study — which revealed breast cancer can be classified as 10 different diseases — to get a deeper understanding of the genetic faults of these 10 subtypes.
They found 40 mutated genes that cause breast cancer to progress. Only a fraction of these genes were previously known to be involved in breast cancer development. They also discovered that one of the more commonly mutated genes, called PIK3CA, is linked to lower chances of survival for three of the 10 breast cancer subgroups. Crucially, this might help explain why drugs targeting PIK3CA work for some women but not for others.
And the researchers think the results could in the future help find drugs to target these genetic faults, stopping the disease from progressing. The research could also provide vital information to help design breast cancer trials and improved tests for the disease.