NICE guidance on familial breast cancer

July 30, 2017

For a woman, finding out that you have a family history of breast cancer can be devastating. It may involve you needing to make very complex and difficult decisions. We are extremely delighted that the guidance recognises the importance of access to psychological care and support for women with a genetic link or a concern about a family history of breast cancer.

We are also pleased that it provides clear recommendations about the type of information women should receive. We know that high-quality support, care and information are incredibly important to women.

Breast Cancer Care recognises that many women may be anxious about whether they have a family history and would like to highlight that only a small proportion of women with breast cancer will have a known family history and that age remains the strongest risk factor."


The mounds of data these experiments create -- each identifying hundreds of gene candidates -- can be difficult to sift through. But for Chinnaiyan and the research team, the ease with which the data is created meant that a wealth of information about cancers' genetic profiles already existed, although not in a single form or place.

Answering some critics who claim that experimental differences make microarray data virtually impossible to compare, Pandey says that the difficulty actually supports their results. "If some people consider these sets to be so different as to be incomparable, then anything that does turn out to be common to all of them seems pretty likely to be real," he suggests.

The researchers also validated their proposed cancer signature by examining data sets published after creation of the database, dubbed ONCOMINE. The same signature discriminated between cancer and normal tissue in seven of nine new data sets, including properly discriminating three types of cancer not used to create the database, the scientists report.

ONCOMINE connects the cancer microarray database to several sources of additional information, including the scientific literature, the Human Protein Reference Database and Online Inheritance in Man, the online catalog of all proven disease-gene connections. ONCOMINE is owned by the University of Michigan, and is available online to academic researchers free-of-charge following registration.

Authors on the report are Daniel Rhodes, Jianjun Yu, Radhika Varambally, Debashis Ghosh, Terrence Barrette and Chinnaiyan of the University of Michigan Medical School; Kalyan Shanker and Nandan Deshpande of the Institute of Bioinformatics; and Pandey of Johns Hopkins. Pandey does not receive compensation for his role as scientific adviser to the Institute of Bioinformatics.