Feeds

US colon cancer risk blamed on English couple

Founder genetic mutation fingered

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

US researchers have identified a married couple who sailed from England to the US in around 1630 as the bearers of a genetic mutation which puts their numerous descendants at higher risk of a hereditary form of colon cancer.

Reuters explains that cancer researchers at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah began to look into a local "family", currently numbering about 5,000 people, "because its members had an unusually high risk of colon cancer". Over 14 years they scoured detailed Mormon church records, in the process identifying another group in New York at similar risk. The genetic trail from both eventually led back to the British pair.

Study leader Deb Neklason said: "The fact that this mutation can be traced so far back in time suggests it could be carried by many more families in the United States than is currently known. In fact, this founder mutation might be related to many colon cancer cases in the United States."

The mutation in question provokes "attenuated familial adenomatous polyposis" (AFAP), which makes people "more prone to developing polyps that can cause colon cancer". In the absence of adequate treatment, the carriers are at a "greater than 2 in 3 risk of developing colon cancer by age 80, compared to about 1 in 24 for the general population".

Neklason concluded: "This study highlights that you need to pay attention to your family history. With intervention to remove the polyps, the risk goes to near nothing."

The study on the unnamed families is published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. ®

Bootnote

Colorectal cancer is the "third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States" and will kill 52,000 people in the US in 2008, according to the American Cancer Society.

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.