Click for St. Louis, Missouri Forecast

// a href = ./ // St Louis News, Weather, Sports, The Big 550 AM, St Louis Traffic, Breaking News in St Louis

 
 
 

GENE FLAWS COMMON IN BLACKS WITH BREAST CANCER

Rate this item
(0 votes)
GENE FLAWS COMMON IN BLACKS WITH BREAST CANCER AP
CHICAGO (AP) -- Gene flaws that raise the risk of breast cancer are surprisingly common in black women with the disease, according to the first comprehensive testing in this racial group. The study found that one-fifth of these women have BRCA mutations, a problem usually associated with women of Eastern European Jewish descent but recently highlighted by the plight of Angelina Jolie.

The study may help explain why black women have higher rates of breast cancer at young ages - and a worse chance of survival.

Doctors say these patients should be offered genetic counseling and may want to consider more frequent screening and prevention options, which can range from hormone-blocking pills to breast removal, as Jolie chose to do.

"We were surprised at our results," said the study leader, Dr. Jane Churpek, a cancer specialist at the University of Chicago. Too few black women have been included in genetic studies in the past and most have not looked for mutations to the degree this one did, "so we just don't have a good sense" of how much risk there is, she said.

Churpek gave results of the study Monday at an American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago. The researchers include Mary-Claire King, the University of Washington scientist who discovered the first breast cancer predisposition gene, BRCA1.

Jolie revealed a few weeks ago that she carries a defective BRCA1 gene, giving her up to an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer and up to a 54 percent risk for ovarian cancer. The actress's mother had breast cancer and died of ovarian cancer, and her maternal grandmother also had ovarian cancer. An aunt recently died of breast cancer.

Children of someone with a BRCA mutation have a 50 percent chance of inheriting it.

In the U.S., about 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers are thought to be due to bad BRCA genes. Among breast cancer patients, BRCA mutations are carried by 5 percent of whites and 12 percent of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jews. The rates in other groups are not as well known.

The study involved 249 black breast cancer patients from Chicago area hospitals. Many had breast cancer at a young age, and half had a family history of the disease.

They were given complete gene sequencing for all 18 known breast cancer risk genes rather than the usual tests that just look for a few specific mutations in BRCA genes.

Gene flaws were found in 56, or 22 percent, of study participants; 46 of them involved BRCA1 or BRCA2 and the rest were less commonly mutated genes.

Harmful mutations were found in 30 percent of black women with "triple-negative breast cancer" - tumors whose growth is not fueled by estrogen, progesterone or the gene that the drug Herceptin targets. Doctors have long known that these harder-to-treat cases are more common in black women.

The National Cancer Institute, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and Komen for the Cure paid for the study.

It included many younger women and those with a family history of cancer, and they are known to have higher rates of gene mutations that raise risk, said Rebecca Nagy, a genetics counselor at Ohio State University and president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

Still, "it has always stumped us" to see black families with lots of breast cancer but no mutations that can be found in ordinary testing for BRCA genes, she said.

That was the situation for Alicia Cook, 44, a Chicago woman whose grandmother died of breast cancer, mother died of ovarian cancer and two sisters have had breast cancer. When she was first diagnosed with breast cancer nearly 10 years ago, a test for BRCA mutations was negative.

Doctors said, "I'm sure there's something going on genetically" but they didn't have the tools to find it, Cook said.

Last year, she had a recurrence and a sister who was diagnosed with the disease learned she carried a BRCA1 mutation. Cook was retested for the same mutation and found to have it. Now she is telling her relatives in hopes that more of them will seek genetic counseling and be aware of their risk.

"You don't want to put people in fear, but knowledge is power," she said.

--- Online:

Breast cancer: HTTP://WWW.CANCER.NET/CANCER-TYPES/BREAST-CANCER

and HTTP://WWW.CANCER.GOV/CANCERTOPICS/FACTSHEET/RISK/BRCA

---

Marilynn Marchione can be followed at HTTP://TWITTER.COM/MMARCHIONEAP © 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.
Last modified on Monday, 03 June 2013 11:15

Latest News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Prev Next
OBAMA PROPOSES $100M FOR BRAIN MAPPING PROJECT

OBAMA PROPOSES $100M FOR BRAIN MAPPING PROJECT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama on Tuesday asked Congress to spend $100 million next year on a new project to map the human brain in hopes of eventually finding cures for...

JURY CONVICTS FORMER DOCTOR IN VEGAS HEP C CASE

JURY CONVICTS FORMER DOCTOR IN VEGAS HEP C CASE

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- A prominent former Las Vegas doctor and endoscopy clinic owner was convicted Monday of all 27 criminal charges against him - including second-degree murder - in a...

DYING PA. GIRL PLACED ON ADULT WAIT LIST FOR LUNG

DYING PA. GIRL PLACED ON ADULT WAIT LIST FOR LUNG

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The national organ transplant network has complied with a judge's unusual order and placed a dying 10-year-old girl on the adult waiting list for a donated lun...

TENNIS ELBOW? STEROID SHOTS NOT BEST LONG-TERM FIX

TENNIS ELBOW? STEROID SHOTS NOT BEST LONG-TERM FIX

CHICAGO (AP) -- Commonly used steroid shots may worsen tennis elbow in the long run and increase chances that the painful condition will reappear, a small study found. By contra...

MORNING-AFTER PILL USE UP TO 1 IN 9 YOUNGER WOMEN

MORNING-AFTER PILL USE UP TO 1 IN 9 YOUNGER WOMEN

NEW YORK (AP) -- About 1 in 9 younger women have used the morning-after pill after sex, according to the first government report to focus on emergency contraception since its appro...

Proton radiation now available in St. Louis

Proton radiation now available in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Proton radiation, designed to get rid of cancerous cells but spare healthy tissue, is now available for the first time in St. Louis.      ...

C. EVERETT KOOP, 'ROCK STAR' SURGEON GENERAL, DIES

C. EVERETT KOOP, 'ROCK STAR' SURGEON GENERAL, DIES

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dr. C. Everett Koop has long been regarded as the nation's doctor- even though it has been nearly a quarter-century since he was surgeon general. Koop, who died...

© 2013 KTRS All Rights Reserved