Scientists have pinpointed four new genes believed to be involved in the development of breast cancer.
By examining tissue from 53 breast cancer tumors and cells grown in the laboratory, researchers at the University of Cambridge in England narrowed the search for the genes that could provide a basis for new treatments for the disease.
"By using the latest in DNA technology we've been able to pinpoint four new genes likely to be involved in the development of breast cancer," said research team head Carlos Caldas.
"Not only is this an exciting advance towards understanding how breast cancer develops, it also heralds a revolutionary new era in the discovery of genes linked to the disease," he added in a statement.
Most breast cancers are caused by damage to genes during a woman's lifetime. Inherited mutations in genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2 are involved in cases of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
Caldas, who reported his findings in the Aug. 4 issue of the journal Oncogene, said scientists have been trying to pinpoint the new genes for two decades.
He and his team used DNA microarray technology, which enables scientists to analyze the expression of many genes at the same time, to search for the breast cancer genes.