Rare mutations tied to breast, pancreatic cancers: study

Genevra Pittman

Mutations in genes that fix mismatched DNA may put people at extra risk for breast cancer and pancreatic cancer, in addition to their well-known ties to colon and endometrial cancers, a new report suggests.

But close relatives of people with the inherited mutations, known collectively as Lynch syndrome, don’t seem to have any extra cancer risk if they test negative for the defective genes, researchers reported Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The mutations “are very rare,” according to Mark Jenkins, from the University of Melbourne. Researchers don’t know exactly how common Lynch syndrome is, in part because people aren’t generally tested unless they have a family history of colon or endometrial cancer.

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