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Novel Genetic Variants Linked to Ovarian Cancer Discovered

Of five loci investigated, four linked to serous ovarian cancer, the most aggressive form

THURSDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDay News) -- An international consortium of scientists has discovered new genetic variants affecting a woman's risk for ovarian cancer. Their findings were published online Sept. 19 in Nature Genetics.

Ellen L. Goode, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues from the United States, Europe, Canada, and Australia used data from earlier genomic studies to compare the genomes of 10,283 women with ovarian cancer to 13,185 healthy women.

The researchers found that stretches of DNA on chromosomes 2, 3, 8, and 17 were linked to ovarian cancer. Two novel susceptibility loci (8q24 and 2q31) were confirmed while two other loci approached but did not achieve genome-wide significance (3q25 and 17q21). Including in the analysis a fifth susceptibility locus, 19p13, discovered in another study, four of the five variants were common in women with serous ovarian cancer, the most aggressive and common form.

"Common genetic 'typos' at 8q24 have already been shown to render some people vulnerable to prostate, colorectal, breast and bladder cancers, so it's not too surprising that there may be something there related to ovarian cancer," Goode said in a statement. "What is surprising is that we found that three of the most common single nucleotide polymorphisms for ovarian cancer lie quite a distance away from this bunch of troublemakers -- in an apparent gene desert -- which suggests they may be causing functional problems by a very different mechanism."

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