Study of Breast Cancer Risk Genes in Nigerian Women Suggests Benefits of Genetic Screening

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – About one in eight Nigerian women with breast cancer has inherited a genetic variant in one of four genes that predisposes her to the disease, according to a new study, and identifying such high-risk women early might reduce mortality from the disease.

Breast cancer incidence has been increasing among Nigerian women, and their tumors are more commonly triple negative and fatal than in women in the US or Europe.

As part of the Nigerian Breast Cancer Study, researchers from the US and Nigeria examined loss-of-function mutations in a panel of 25 known and suspected breast cancer genes in more than 1,000 Nigerian women with breast cancer and nearly 1,000 cancer-free women. As they reported yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the researchers found that nearly 15 percent of patients with breast cancer in their study had a predisposing mutation. In particular, 11 percent had damaging BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

“This is the first study to use high-throughput genomic analysis of African women,” said senior author Olufunmilayo Olopade from the University of Chicago in a statement.

She and her colleagues added that their findings suggest genomic sequencing could be used to identify women in Nigeria who

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