Blood test could soon warn of breast cancer risk

Blood test could soon warn of breast cancer risk

We covered Angelina Jolie in icon magazine in 2014 and concluded that she had made the right choice. A family history of breast cancer and a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation leave little room for error o chance.

Her activities sparked a rapid increase in women going for genetic testing on both sides of the Atlantic.

But testing for the BRCA1 gene mutation isn’t the only way to test for an increased risk of breast cancer. For example, researchers at University College London are developing a blood test that will look for a certain ‘epigenetic signature’. Epigentics is the study of the surrounds of the DNA – where often in cancer cases the surrounding proteins can block messages.

This blood test will recognise BRCA1 and BRCA2 blockages, but others that also may heighten risk.

"The data is encouraging since it shows the potential of a blood-based epigenetic test to identify breast cancer risk in women without known predisposing genetic mutations,” said lead researcher Professor Martin Widschwendter, Head of University College London’s Department of Women’s Cancer. The test is currently being evaluated in human trials.


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