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New cancer gene CHEK2 may help predict risk

Screening for mutations in a gene known as CHEK2 may help determine a woman's odds of breast cancer if the disease runs in her family, according to a Polish study.

Researchers, led by Cezary Cybulski of the Pomeranian Medical University in Szczecin, estimated that a woman who carries a CHEK2 mutation would have a 34pc risk of developing breast cancer if her mother or sister had the disease.

US experts, however, cautioned that Polish women might be different than those in the United States and said that the test isn't quite ready for widespread use yet.

Women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer are already encouraged to get screened for mutations in the BRCA 1 and 2 genes that warn of a heightened tumour risk.

"CHEK2 mutation screening detects a clinically meaningful risk of breast cancer and should be considered in all women with a family history of breast cancer," Cybulski wrote in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.