deCODE Launches deCODE BreastCancer™ Test to Screen for Risk of the Most Common Forms of Breast Cancer
News Oct 08, 2008
deCODE genetics has announced the launch of deCODE BreastCancer™, a new tool for assessing risk of the common forms of breast cancer. For the first time, a woman concerned about breast cancer can speak with her physician about a genetic test to better understand her lifetime risk of developing the common forms of the disease, the company says.
The common forms of breast cancer result from the interplay of genetic as well as environmental and lifestyle factors and represent 95 percent of all breast cancers. These are distinct from the rare and essentially purely inherited forms of the disease due to mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which cause between 1 and 3 percent of breast cancers.
deCODE BreastCancer™ is a DNA-based reference laboratory test performed using a simple blood sample or cheek swab, ordered by physicians on behalf of their patients.
“This test is simple and compelling because it provides a woman and her doctor a means of understanding her personal risk of developing the common forms of breast cancer. This information is well-validated, relevant to the vast majority of women, and independent of family history and other known risk factors. Combined with the high public awareness of the importance of screening, advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology and the availability of preventive drugs targeting estrogen receptors, I believe this test will help to save lives,” said Dr. Kari Stefansson, M.D., Dr. Med., CEO of deCODE.
“DNA-based breast cancer risk assessment has to date been focused on detecting rare mutations that confer very high risk of early onset breast cancer. These are very valuable tests, but they do not measure genetic risk of the common forms of the disease. The DNA markers identified recently by deCODE represent an important step toward filling current gaps in our understanding of breast cancer risk. Ultimately, the goal is to deliver more personalized prevention and treatment for a much greater number of women,” said Rebecca Sutphen, M.D., Clinical Geneticist at Moffitt Cancer Center and Advisory Board member at Informed Medical Decisions, Inc., a network of genetic counselors who provide support to physicians and patients using deCODE’s tests.
“We speak to many people who are concerned about breast cancer through our 24/7 YourShoes Breast Cancer Support Center,” said Margaret C. Kirk, CEO, Breast Cancer Network of Strength (formerly known as YME National Breast Cancer Organization). “We are very interested in all advances that could empower people to take charge of their health care and better understand their risk for developing breast cancer.”
The deCODE BreastCancer™ test measures seven widely replicated single-letter variations (SNPs) in the human genome that deCODE and others have linked to risk of breast cancer. These SNPs contribute to the incidence of an estimated 60 percent of all breast cancers.
The test integrates data from discovery and replication studies published in major peer-reviewed journals and involving nearly 100,000 breast cancer patients and healthy volunteers from many populations, principally of European descent. deCODE and other organizations are conducting replication studies to validate these markers in populations of other continental ancestries.
Previous work by the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium (IMSGC) has identified 233 genetic risk variants. However, these only account for about 20% of overall disease risk, with the remaining genetic culprits proving elusive. A new study has tracked down four of these hard-to-find genes.READ MORE