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New Research Study May Lead to Personalized Approach to Breast Cancer Screenings
Date:8/10/2009

The initiative, dubbed the PINK study, is now enrolling participants and aims to attract 3,500 women, regardless of whether they have had a breast cancer diagnosis. Scripps researchers will test all participants' DNA for each of the known common variants and will correlate the relationships between the presence of common variants and breast cancer diagnoses.

The study is sponsored by Scripps Genomic Medicine (a program of Scripps Health), in association with the Scripps Polster Breast Care Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla. To enroll, women must be 30 or older; have at least five years of breast imaging records available for confidential review; undergo a one-time blood sample for confidential DNA analysis; and currently receive screenings or care at Scripps Polster Breast Care Center.

The PINK study will focus on common variants since they affect a broad segment of the community - in some cases between 20 and 30 percent of the total population - and can have a significant impact on public health. Women could potentially carry these common variants but still may have no family history of breast cancer. Common DNA variants are "mistakes," or alternative letters in the human DNA code.

Murray says if the study concludes that these common DNA variants can provide a more accurate prediction of a breast cancer diagnosis than the current model, then women could potentially be classified into three groups for more effective screening purposes:

 
  • Women who have a lifetime risk of greater than 20 percent would be placed on a track of being more carefully screened, such as annual MRI and mammography (in accordance with Nati
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