A MUTATION in a certain gene linked to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer could help with prevention measures, research has found.
A team of researchers led by the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) found that mutations in a gene called PPM1D is linked to an increased risk of the two cancers.
Women with PPM1D mutations have a 20pc chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer – double the breast cancer risk and more than 10 times the ovarian cancer risk of women in the general population. However, the discovery could help with genetic testing and prevention in particular for ovarian cancer, which is often diagnosed at an advanced stage.
The study, published in the journal 'Nature' this week, said that PPM1D seems to be working in a completely different way to other genes known to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2.
Study leader Professor Nazneen Rahman, head of genetics at the ICR and head of the cancer genetics clinical unit at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said: "This is one of our most interesting and exciting discoveries. The results could also be useful in the clinic, particularly for ovarian cancer."