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Breast Cancer Res. 2002;4(3):85-9. Epub 2002 Apr 4.

The contribution of inherited genotype to breast cancer.

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Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6021, USA.


The etiology of breast cancer is complex, and is likely to involve the actions of genes at multiple levels along the multistage carcinogenesis process. These inherited genotypes include those that affect the propensity to be exposed to breast carcinogens, and those associated with breast tumorigenesis directly. In addition, inherited genotypes may influence response to breast cancer chemoprevention and treatment. Studies relating inherited genotypes with breast cancer incidence and mortality should consider a broader spectrum of genes and their potential roles in multistage carcinogenesis than have been typically evaluated to date. Understanding the role of inherited genotype at different stages of carcinogenesis could improve our understanding of cancer biology, may identify specific exposures or events that correlate with carcinogenesis, or target relevant biochemical pathways for the development of preventive or therapeutic interventions.

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