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Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;882:1-32. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-22909-6_1.

Genomic Biomarkers for Breast Cancer Risk.

Author information

Clinical Genetics Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 10065, New York, NY, USA.
Department of Pediatrics, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA.
Division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, Department of Medicine, Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 19104, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Division of Experimental Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic, 55905, Rochester, MN, USA.
Clinical Genetics Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 10065, New York, NY, USA.
Program in Cancer Biology and Genetics, Sloan Kettering Institute; Departments of Medicine and Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, 10065, New York, NY, USA.


Clinical risk assessment for cancer predisposition includes a three-generation pedigree and physical examination to identify inherited syndromes. Additionally genetic and genomic biomarkers may identify individuals with a constitutional basis for their disease that may not be evident clinically. Genomic biomarker testing may detect molecular variations in single genes, panels of genes, or entire genomes. The strength of evidence for the association of a genomic biomarker with disease risk may be weak or strong. The factors contributing to clinical validity and utility of genomic biomarkers include functional laboratory analyses and genetic epidemiologic evidence. Genomic biomarkers may be further classified as low, moderate or highly penetrant based on the likelihood of disease. Genomic biomarkers for breast cancer are comprised of rare highly penetrant mutations of genes such as BRCA1 or BRCA2, moderately penetrant mutations of genes such as CHEK2, as well as more common genomic variants, including single nucleotide polymorphisms, associated with modest effect sizes. When applied in the context of appropriate counseling and interpretation, identification of genomic biomarkers of inherited risk for breast cancer may decrease morbidity and mortality, allow for definitive prevention through assisted reproduction, and serve as a guide to targeted therapy .


BRCA; Biomarkers; Breast oncology; Chemoprevention; Genetic counseling; Genetic testing; Genetics; Genomics; Prophylactic

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