Five new genes that play a role in colon cancer have been discovered. The findings come from a study of over 1,000 people with colon cancer. The five genes uncovered are considered very rare, so additional research is required to confirm their association and link to colon cancer.
Study leader Richard Houlston said, “Our study is the largest ever conducted of the genetics of bowel [colon] cancer, and sets out a detailed map of the disease that could lead us to new ways of treating or preventing. The research closes one chapter in the study of bowel cancer by concluding that all the major risk genes have now been found. But it opens another by underlining the importance of tracking down the many missing genetic variations, which each have a very small effect alone, but together make the biggest impact on inherited risk.”
Paul Workman, chief executive of the Institute of Cancer Research, added, “This study represents an important contribution to our understanding of the genetics of bowel cancer. It provides a marker of the dramatic progress we have made so far in decoding the inherited risk of the disease, and gives us confidence that the most important risk genes have now been found.”
The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications.