Introduction: Genetic predisposition to cancers – future implications for selective screening, surveillance and management


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Ros Eeles1
1ICR, Sutton, UK

Abstract

Cancer can occur due to genetic predisposition when genetic variants in the germline increase the risk of development of the disease. Considerable advances in research in this area have been made in the last 10 years and it is now known that both rare and common cancers have a genetic component to their development. Over the last year a large effort worldwide has brought together very large consortia of numerous groups working on the common cancers. Over 200 000 blood DNA samples from individuals with common cancers (breast, ovary and prostate) have been genotyped for hundreds of thousands of genetic markers. The latest data from this effort (The COGS Initiative) will be presented by the Head of the Scientific Committee of COGS, Professor Doug Easton from the CR-UK unit in Cambridge, England, who performed the first such study in breast cancer.This will be followed by the application of genetic predisposition to targeting screening. Prof Harry de Koning is a leader in the field of screening from Rotterdam and has pioneered risk modelling to refine screening from populations to targeting such efforts to those at higher risk due to a genetic predisposition. The session will be rounded off by a presentation from Prof Mark Robson, an Oncologist with a specialist interest in Cancer Genetics from Memorial Sloan Kettering, New York. He has a specialist interest in the management of individuals with genetic predisposition and how this impacts on their cancer care pathway. As medicine moves from generic treatment to care tailored to specific host and disease parameters, the role of genetic variation in determining the cancer care pathway will become more routine. This session will show the latest data in this area.