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Genetic predisposition to cancer: familial forms of medullary thyroid cancer and breast cancer



Genetic predisposition to cancer: familial forms of medullary thyroid cancer and breast cancer



Bulletin de l'Academie Nationale de Medecine 178(1): 123



Most cancers appear to be sporadic. However, 5 to 10% of cancers occur in genetically predisposed individuals. This inherited genetic risk is observed in syndromes such as familial polyendocrinopathies or phacomatosis such as neurofibromatosis, but also in familial aggregations of frequent cancers such as breast or colon cancers. Thanks to studies on molecular genetics, it has been possible over the last ten years to localize and to identify a large number of predisposing genes. These discoveries have permitted to better understand the biological basis of the predisposition and to offer counselling by identifying at-risk individuals in those families. In the case of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 associated with an elevated risk for medullary thyroid cancer, the gene involved is a protooncogene named RET and located on chromosome 10. Point mutations affecting specific regions of this gene are the basis of the genetic predisposition. For familial breast cancer, a susceptibility gene named BRCA1 has been located on the long arm of chromosome 17. Mutation of this gene (yet to be identified) led to very elevated risk of breast cancer and also in some families of ovarian cancer.

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Accession: 046165268

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PMID: 8038990


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