Author(s): Hosking FJ, Dobbins SE, Houlston RS
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Abstract Genome-wide association (GWA) studies search for genetic variants, across the entire genome, which display differences in frequencies between cases and controls. Studies in PubMed using the keywords 'genomewide association' and 'cancer' are reported together with selected literature. Since 2007, GWA studies have successfully yielded risk loci for most common cancers. Findings have provided insights into the biological basis of cancer susceptibility implicating previously unsuspected genes in tumourogenesis. The variants identified typically account for only a small proportion of the familial risk of cancer and thus their application for individual risk prediction is poor. Furthermore, the genotyped variants are unlikely to be directly causal and identifying the causal basis is a major challenge. Methodological developments are desirable to fully utilize existing data sets and to enable more complex models of inherited predisposition to be investigated. Annotation of low frequency variation coupled with next-generation sequencing is making the search for rare disease-causing variants a realistic prospect.
This article was published in Br Med Bull
and referenced in Hereditary Genetics: Current Research