WEDNESDAY, Oct. 4, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- A new review of various studies has identified five gene variants possibly linked to breast cancer.
A team called the Breast Cancer Association Consortium collected data from more than 20 research groups. Those groups were each conducting breast cancer research on a total of 16 "single nucleotide polymorphisms" (SNPs) -- gene variants potentially linked to breast malignancy.
The researchers pooled the data from all the studies. They concluded that five of the SNPs might be linked to breast cancer, while the 11 other SNPs are not associated with the disease.
Reporting in the Oct. 4 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the study authors said their findings suggest that pooling data from many research groups can create the large sample sizes necessary to identify associations between risk factors and diseases, even when a risk factors' effects are relatively moderate in size.
The study is an "impressive collaborative effort," Dr. John P.A. Ioannidis, of the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece, wrote in an accompanying editorial.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about the genetics of breast and ovarian cancer.