A study combining data from over 300 institutions around the world has found 72 new genetic mutations that may lead to the development of breast cancer, CNN reported. Seven of the mutations found lead to a type of breast cancer that doesn’t respond to traditional hormonal therapies, like tamoxifen.
The total known number of mutations that can lead to breast cancer is now 180.
The BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 breast cancer genetic mutations appear at a higher rate in the genes of Ashkenazi Jewish women. About half of the women that inherit either mutation will develop breast cancer by age 70.
Scientists behind the study say that the results will help them identify relatives of breast cancer patients who may be themselves at risk for developing the cancer. Knowing the mutations may also help advance personalized cancer care — through specific treatment regiments tailored to a person’s genes.
The study was conducted primarily among women of European background. Scientists say that efforts to uncover genetic mutations for breast cancer in Latino, Asian, African and Middle Eastern background are still underway.
“Scientists are not in competition against each other,” said professor Peter Kraft of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We are really working together to expedite and to accelerate the discovery.”