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BRCA1 and BRCA2: breast/ovarian cancer susceptibility gene products and participants in DNA double-strand break repair

Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
Carcinogenesis (Impact Factor: 5.27). 06/2010; 31(6):961-7. DOI: 10.1093/carcin/bgq069
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT BRCA1 and BRCA2 are tumor suppressor genes, familial mutations in which account for approximately 5% of breast cancer cases in the USA annually. Germ line mutations in BRCA1 that truncate or inactivate the protein lead to a cumulative risk of breast cancer, by age 70, of up to 80%, whereas the risk of ovarian cancer is 30-40%. For germ line BRCA2 mutations, the breast cancer cumulative risk approaches 50%, whereas for ovarian cancers, it is between 10 and 15%. Both BRCA1 and BRCA2 are involved in maintaining genome integrity at least in part by engaging in DNA repair, cell cycle checkpoint control and even the regulation of key mitotic or cell division steps. Unsurprisingly, the complete loss of function of either protein leads to a dramatic increase in genomic instability. How they function in maintaining genome integrity after the onset of DNA damage will be the focus of this review.

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