Key study finds more evidence of genetic cancer risk, spanning data on over 200,000 twin pairs and over 30 years of research.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) looked at the genetic cancer risk based on records of both identical and fraternal twins. All twin pairs involved in the study have been followed over a period of 32 years.
The twin pairs came from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Due to their health records rich in detail, the scientific team developing the study was able to gain deeper insight into genetic cancer risk.
For identical twins, the research team found that the risk of developing cancer increased by 14 percent for one of the twins if the other had already been diagnosed with cancer. As identical twins share the same set of genes, the results are telling. However, the researchers draw attention to the fact that this doesn’t necessarily mean the twins will develop the same type of cancer or that one will develop cancer at all if the other twin has already been diagnosed.
For fraternal twins, the research team found that the risk of developing cancer was 5 percent higher. Fraternal twins don’t share the same genetic material as identical twins do. Rather, they are more similar to biological siblings from this perspective. In fraternal twin pairs, if one twin developed cancer, the other has 5 percent higher chances of also developing a form of cancer.
This key study finds more evidence of genetic cancer risk as the research team calculated that 32 percent of the group developed cancer. The genetic risk for identical twins was calculated at 46 percent. For fraternal twins, the same was established at 37 percent.
Looking at cancer types, the research team found that 38 percent of the identical twin pairs developed the same type of cancer. Among, fraternal twin pairs, 26 percent were diagnosed with the exact same type of cancer.
The cancer types with the highest incidence among the twin pairs were prostate cancer (57 percent), ovary cancer (39 percent), melanoma ( 58 percent), kidney cancer (38 percent), uterine cancer (27 percent), breast cancer (31 percent).
The study is another stepping stone for gaining deeper insight on the hereditary risks of cancer.
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