Scientists have identified two common genetic variants that increase risk of thyroid cancer in European populations, according to research published online in Nature Genetics.
Julius Gudmundsson and colleagues report that the variants are located on chromosomes 9 and 14 near to two genes expressed in thyroid, FOXE1 and NKX2-1. The variant on chromosome 9 is also associated with circulating levels of thyroid hormone, suggesting that it affects some aspect of the endocrine function of the thyroid gland. Individuals who carry two copies of each of the two risk variants (comprising 3.7% of the population at large) have the highest relative genetic risk of thyroid cancer -- 5.7 times greater than those who carry all four low risk variants.
Thyroid carcinoma is the most common endocrine malignancy and its incidence is currently 4.9 and 14.1 per 100,000 in the US for males and females of European ancestry, respectively.
Julius Gudmundsson (deCODE Genetics, Reykjavik, Iceland)
Kari Stefansson (deCODE Genetics, Reykjavik, Iceland)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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