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Understanding BRCA and HBOC >Genes linked to hereditary cancers

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Genes linked to hereditary cancers

FORCE is a wealth of information and support for families with hereditary cancer. My hereditary cancer journey - and that of my previvor daughter - has been so much easier because of FORCE.

Susan Davis, FORCE Outreach Coordinator and Hereditary Breast Cancer Survivor

Advances in the field of genetics have led to the discovery of BRCA1, BRCA2 and several other genes that increase the risk for hereditary breast, ovarian, and related cancers (HBOC). Several genetics labs offer panel tests which include different combinations of genes. Not all the genes included in these tests have been well studied or conclusively linked to increased cancer risk. We recommend consulting with a health expert with advanced training in genetics for before undergoing genetic testing. Visit our page on genetic counseling to find a genetics expert. Below is a table with the most common mutations linked to hereditary breast, ovarian, and related cancers.


Gene Mutation Associated Cancer Risks
BRCA1 and BRCA2 (Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer syndrome)

Breast (female and male), ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, and melanoma

PTEN (Cowden syndrome) Breast (female), thyroid, uterine, colon, kidney, melanoma
TP53 (Li Freumeni syndrome) Breast (female), sarcomas (connective tissue cancers), bone, adrenal gland, brain, leukemia, pancreatic, colon, liver, and various childhood cancers
STK11 (Peutz-Jeghers syndrome) Breast (female), uterine, ovarian, colon, gastric, small bowel, pancreatic, lung, and cervical
MLH1, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2, EPCAM (Lynch syndrome) Colon, uterine, ovarian, gastric, urinary tract, small bowel, and central nervous system
CDH1 Gastric and breast (female)
PALB2 Breast (female and male) and pancreatic
CHEK2 Breast (female and male), prostate, and colon
ATM Breast (female) and pancreatic
BARD1 Breast (female)
BRIP1 Ovarian
RAD51C Ovarian
RAD51D Ovarian
RAD50 Breast (female)
NBN Breast (female) and prostate


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