Researchers have pinpointed several heritable genes that may increase the risk of developing sarcoma cancers.
The discovery could facilitate the earlier detection of sarcomas by screening for these genes particularly within families with a cancer history. The genes, when inherited, greatly increase the chance of developing these cancers.
This research, published by The Lancet, may open the doors to new treatment options for families with recurring sarcoma cancers.
The paper forms part of worldwide research project, The International Sarcoma Kindred Study (ISKS), with the UK branch lead by researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Mardsden.
“This study has shed light on the inheritance of cancer risk in families more widely, and offers clues to explaining why some families are affected by many different cancer types,” said Professor Ian Judson of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden.
Little more is known about sarcoma cancers than they are rare and disproportionately affect the young. According to cancer charity Sarcoma UK, as many as 10 people a day in the UK are diagnosed with a type of sarcoma.
“If we can identify individuals at high risk of developing sarcomas this could lead to earlier detection and more effective treatment of these tumours,” said Director of Research at Sarcoma UK Sarah McDonald.