Scientists Uncover Genetic Link for Uterine Fibroids10/04/12
THURSDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers who discovered
genetic risk factors linked to uterine fibroids in white women say
their findings will lead to new screening and treatment methods for
Uterine fibroids are the most common type of pelvic tumor in
women -- they occur in 75 percent of women of reproductive age --
and the leading cause of hysterectomy in the United States. Uterine
fibroids can lead to abnormal vaginal bleeding, infertility, pelvic
pain and pregnancy complications.
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston analyzed
genetic data from more than 7,000 white women and identified
variations in three genes that are significantly associated with
One of these variations occurred in a gene called FASN, which
encodes a protein called FAS (fatty acid synthase). Further
investigation showed that FAS protein production was three times
higher in uterine fibroid samples compared to normal tissue,
according to the report published online Oct. 4 in the
American Journal of Human Genetics.
Overproduction of FAS protein occurs in various types of tumors
and is believed to be important for tumor cell survival, the study
authors pointed out in a hospital news release.
"Our discovery foretells a path to personalized medicine for women who have a genetic basis for development of uterine fibroids," senior study author Cynthia Morton, director of the Center for Uterine Fibroids, said in the news release. "Identification of genetic risk factors may provide valuable insight into medical management," she concluded.
The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human
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