PALB2, or PAL for short, is our new friend. She's a newly discovered breast cancer gene who hangs out closest to our old friend BRCA2, or B2. She also hangs with B1 but not as much. But what does PAL do? According to some new research:
"Overall, the researchers found, a PALB2 mutation carrier had a 35
percent chance of developing cancer by age 70. By comparison, women with
BRCA1 mutations have a 50 to 70 percent chance of developing breast
cancer by that age, and those with BRCA2 have a 40 to 60 percent chance..."
"The breast cancer risk for women younger than 40 with PALB2 mutation
was eight to nine times higher than that of the general population. The
risk was six to eight times higher among women ages 40 to 60 with these
mutations, and five times as high among women older than 60...
"The data also indicated that women with the PALB2 mutations were
slightly more likely to have “triple-negative” breast cancer — a form
resistant to hormone treatment, more aggressive, and more likely to
recur than other subtypes...."
A caution was added:
"“This has to be tailored to the patients, who may have other mutations
and varying family risk,” she said. “With no family history, the
increase they found is 35 percent. If you have two or more family
members with cancer, they found a risk of 58 percent.”"
So PAL may be our friend but we don't want her to hang out with our family as well.
You can learn more about PAL here and here (NEJM) and here (Genetics Home Reference).