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Genetic risk for uterine fibroids identified

Date:
October 4, 2012
Source:
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Summary:
Researchers detected genetic variants that are significantly associated with uterine fibroid status in a span of three genes including FASN which encodes a protein called FAS.

Uterine fibroids are the most common type of pelvic tumors in women and are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the United States. Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) are the first to discover a genetic risk allele (an alternative form of a gene) for uterine fibroids in white women using an unbiased, genome-wide approach. This discovery will pave the way for new screening strategies and treatments for uterine fibroids.

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The study will be published online on October 4, 2012 in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

The research team, led by Cynthia Morton, PhD, BWH director of the Center for Uterine Fibroids and senior study author, analyzed genetic data from over 7,000 white women. The researchers detected genetic variants that are significantly associated with uterine fibroid status in a span of three genes including FASN which encodes a protein called FAS (fatty acid synthase).

Moreover, additional studies revealed that FAS protein expression was three times higher in uterine fibroid samples compared to normal myometrial tissue (muscle tissue that forms the uterine wall). Over-expression of FAS protein is found in various types of tumors and is thought to be important for tumor cell survival.

"Our discovery foretells a path to personalized medicine for women who have a genetic basis for development of uterine fibroids," said Morton. "Identification of genetic risk factors may provide valuable insight into medical management."

Study samples used were from various cohort studies, such as the Finding Genes for Fibroids study and the Women's Genome Health Study at BWH.

Uterine fibroids may lead to abnormal vaginal bleeding, infertility, pelvic pain and pregnancy complications. Uterine fibroids are found in more than 75 percent of women of reproductive age.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. StaceyL. Eggert, KarenL. Huyck, Priya Somasundaram, Raghava Kavalla, ElizabethA. Stewart, AkeT. Lu, JodieN. Painter, GrantW. Montgomery, SarahE. Medland, DaleR. Nyholt, SusanA. Treloar, KrinaT. Zondervan, AndrewC. Heath, PamelaA.F. Madden, Lynda Rose, Julie E. Buring, PaulM. Ridker, DanielI. Chasman, NicholasG. Martin, RitaM. Cantor, CynthiaC. Morton. Genome-wide Linkage and Association Analyses Implicate FASN in Predisposition to Uterine Leiomyomata. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 2012; 91 (4): 621 DOI: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2012.08.009

Cite This Page:

Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Genetic risk for uterine fibroids identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004121550.htm>.
Brigham and Women's Hospital. (2012, October 4). Genetic risk for uterine fibroids identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004121550.htm
Brigham and Women's Hospital. "Genetic risk for uterine fibroids identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004121550.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

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