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Genetic Epidemiology of Breast Cancer in Latin America.

  • Author(s): Zavala, Valentina A
  • Serrano-Gomez, Silvia J
  • Dutil, Julie
  • Fejerman, Laura
  • et al.

The last 10 years witnessed an acceleration of our understanding of what genetic factors underpin the risk of breast cancer. Rare high- and moderate-penetrance variants such as those in the BRCA genes account for a small proportion of the familial risk of breast cancer. Low-penetrance alleles are expected to underlie the remaining heritability. By now, there are about 180 genetic polymorphisms that are associated with risk, most of them of modest effect. In combination, they can be used to identify women at the lowest or highest ends of the risk spectrum, which might lead to more efficient cancer prevention strategies. Most of these variants were discovered in populations of European descent. As a result, we might be failing to discover additional polymorphisms that could explain risk in other groups. This review highlights breast cancer genetic epidemiology studies conducted in Latin America, and summarizes the information that they provide, with special attention to similarities and differences with studies in other populations. It includes studies of common variants, as well as moderate- and high-penetrance variants. In addition, it addresses the gaps that need to be bridged in order to better understand breast cancer genetic risk in Latin America.

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