Loss-of-function mutations at the PALB2 locus appear to increase risk of breast cancer nearly as much as mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, researchers report in The New England Journal of Medicine. The protein encoded by PALB2 interacts with BRCA1 and BRCA2, and the newly discovered mutation is associated with risk of breast cancer that is eight to nine times higher in women younger than 40, six to eight times higher in 40- to 60-year-old women and five times higher in women older than 60, the researchers found. Moreover, seven of the 51 men with the mutation developed the disease in the study.

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