New genetic links to cancer found

RESEARCHERS have found four new genetic variants that increase the risk of contracting one of the major forms of leukaemia, confirming that risk factors for the fatal blood cancer can be inherited.

The findings mean scientists now know of ten genetic variants associated with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), scientists at Europe's Institute of Cancer Research who conducted the study said.

The four new genetic factors are all common in European populations and each factor contributes to an increase in the risk of the disease.

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CLL is the most common type of leukaemia in adults, accounting for around 30 per cent to 40 per cent of all forms of leukaemia in Western countries.

Most of those diagnosed are over the age of 55, and while the incidence of CLL is broadly equal in black and white populations, the disease is rare among Asians.