News on Wellness

Mutations In Virus Fighting Genes Are Related To Development In Breast Cancer!

Breast Cancer

Breast CancerBreat cancer is prevalant world wide however till date our general understanding to cancers are limited. Exposure to ulraviolet rays, gamma radiations, smoking are proven risk to cancer development. These processes cause distinguishable changes in the genetic makeup of an individual. There are patterns of genetic damage in our genome which can be identified. Scientists have made a remarkable discovery by identifying a group of genes within our body, mutations in which cause a distinct imprint or signature, on the genomes of cancer cells.


Ever since evolution, the APOBEC family of genes has evolved to protect the human body against viral infections. This group of genes is responsible for very distinct signature of mutations in breast cancer patients. Researchers from Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have identified the role of enzymes produced by these genes, in causing mutations in half the cancer types.

The team had conducted their study on 923 breast cancer patients across the world and found that more than 140 of them had two copies of deletion on chromosome 22. APOBEC genes, particularly APOBEC3A and APOBEC3B, sit next to each other in chromosome 22. Breast cancer patients associated with this deletion, showed a greater amount of mutations in their genetic signature. A distinct pattern in mutational signature was observed. Researchers have identified a greater prevalence of mutation in the APOBEC genes, in the genomes of breast cancer patients. Dr Serena Nik- Zainal the head of this research added her comments by stating, “The increased frequency of this common cancer signature in breast cancer patients with APOBEC gene abnormalities supports our theory that these enzymes play a role in generating this mutational signature.”

Women with this deletion are now known to be more susceptible to develop breast cancers. Ethnicity has a role to play with APOBEC mutations, which more common in few populations. Europeans are 8% susceptible to develop this mutation. This genetic signature is beneficial for further understanding the cause of disease and will be important for disease prevention and control.

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