Scientists find new gene markers for cancer risk

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Scientist using digital microscope (AP Photo)

Scientist using digital microscope (AP Photo)

NEW YORK (AP) — Scientists say DNA testing has uncovered dozens of genetic markers tied to breast, prostate and ovarian cancer.

The international effort detailed today involved more than 100 institutions and testing of 200,000 people. The new set of genetic risk markers essentially doubles the known list. One of the study’s authors says the findings also reveal clues about the biological underpinnings of such cancers — which could pay off eventually in better therapies.

While patients shouldn’t expect a quick payoff, researchers say the findings suggest there may someday be genetic tests to help identify patients with the most to gain from getting mammograms and PSA tests.

The head of the British charity that funded much of the research says the findings add another “piece to the puzzle.” Experts not connected with the work say it’s encouraging but add that more research is needed to see how useful it will be for guiding patient care.

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