Study ties new gene to major breast cancer risk

Scientists are linking a newly identified gene to breast cancer.

It's long been known that faulty BRCA genes greatly raise the risk for breast cancer. Now scientists say another gene that's less common can do the same.

The newly-discovered gene is called PALB2, and genetics expert Dr. Jeffrey Weitzel says it's probably the most dangerous in terms of breast cancer after the BRCA genes. The doctor with the City of Hope Cancer Center in Duarte, California says, "this one is serious."

Researchers looked at 362 women in families that have the PALB2 mutation. They say the faulty gene seems to give a woman a 14 percent chance of breast cancer by age 50 and a 35 percent chance by age 70.

The women were at an even greater risk if they had two or more close relatives with the disease.

The study is in this week's New England Journal of Medicine.

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