Thursday, August 7, 2014

Say hello to our new pal - PALB2

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).

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