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More and More Genes

Myriad Genetics has developed a polygenic risk score that gauge the likelihood a woman will develop breast cancer, Technology Review reports.

It adds that this test looks beyond the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. In all, the test examines 86 genetic variants and couples that with information about the patient's history, including age at puberty. Tech Review notes that the test became available earlier this year as part of Myriad's cancer test, though it is currently just for women of European descent who have a family history of cancer.

Myriad presented validation data for this riskScore at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium earlier this month, as GenomeWeb has reported. The company evaluated the polygenic test in combination with patient history in a cohort of about 6,500 women of European descent who didn't have breast cancer and tested negative for hereditary cancer genes. They found, according to GenomeWeb, that 38 percent of the women had a lifetime cancer risk that was more than 20 percent, while seven percent of the women had a lifetime cancer risk exceeding 35 percent.

One physician tell Tech Review that the test will help them manage patients with a family history of disease, but who don't have a BRCA mutation, though he notes that the test isn't firm enough to guide treatment on its own.

The company adds that it is working on expanding the test for other ethnicities.