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Obesity genes linked to uterine cancer

Jan. 20, 2012, 9:41 AM

Endometrial cancer, or cancer of the uterine lining, is the most common gynecological malignancy. Obesity – defined as a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher – is a well-established risk factor for endometrial cancer, with obese women having a 4- to 6-times higher risk of the malignancy than nonobese women.

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Ryan Delahanty, Ph.D., Xiao Ou Shu, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues have evaluated the association between known obesity-related genetic variants and endometrial cancer risk in the Shanghai Endometrial Cancer Genetics Study. In the Nov. 15 American Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers report that obesity-associated variants in 22 of 26 genetic loci examined were present more often in women with endometrial cancer compared to control subjects. Nine of the obesity-linked variants – which represented seven genetic loci – were significantly associated with increased risk of the disease.

The results suggest that in addition to BMI, genetic markers of obesity may provide value in predicting endometrial cancer risk.

The research was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute.

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