BRCA Gene Mutations Linked to Salivary Gland Cancer

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BRCA Gene Mutations Linked to Salivary Gland Cancer

Of the three people with salivary gland cancers in the study, one was a relative who had a confirmed BRCA1 mutation. The two other cases were relatives who had not been tested for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

Earlier studies have linked breast cancer with salivary gland cancer, but the new study is one of the first to find a link between mutations in the BRCA gene and salivary gland cancer, the researchers said.

Salivary glands and breast tissue are both types of exocrine tissue, which means they secrete products (such as saliva or milk) through a duct into an organ.

The new study “resulted in a significant observation that we believe, when considered alongside other similarities between salivary glands and breast tissue, warrants further investigation into the nature of a possible linkage between … BRCA mutations and salivary gland cancer,” the researchers, from Ohio State University College of Medicine, wrote in the Sept. 25 issue of the journal JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery.

The researchers noted that because two of the people with salivary gland cancer in the study did not have genetic testing results, the researchers cannot confirm that these individuals had BRCA mutations. But in one of these patients, there was a 50 percent chance that he had the mutation, the researchers said.

Follow Rachael Rettner @RachaelRettner. Follow Live Science@livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science.



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