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A study looking at the genetics of womb cancer (NSECG)
This study was trying to find changes to genes that may increase the risk of cancer of the lining of the womb (endometrial cancer).
In this study, the researchers looked at the genes of a large number of women who had endometrial cancer. They also found out about their family history to see if any close relatives had had cancer.
The aim of the study was to identify genetic changes that could increase the risk of getting endometrial cancer.
Summary of results
This large national study known as the National Study of Endometrial Cancer Genetics or NSECG recruited 3,300 women with endometrial cancer, as well as a large number of people who didn’t have endometrial cancer (the control group).
Everybody who took part in the study part gave a blood sample. And the study team got tumour samples from women who had surgery to remove their cancer.
Researchers wanted to find genetic changes that were linked to an increased risk of endometrial cancer. To do this type of research, they needed blood and tissue samples from a large number of people.
The samples from the NSECG were looked at alongside samples collected in other countries, allowing different groups of researchers to compare the genes of very large numbers of people. Some examples of what they have found so far from these pooled results are listed below.
One study looked at blood and tumour samples from 173 women in the NSECG who had endometrial cancer. They found a particular gene change in 7% of the cancers, even though this gene change is less common than that in the general population.
Another group of researchers looked at the genes of more than 6,000 people both with and without endometrial cancer. They found certain changes to genes usually involved with the process of
An international group of researchers identified another gene change that may increase the risk of endometrial cancer. This particular change is already associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Researchers already knew of some gene changes that increase breast cancer risk. An international group of researchers looked to see if some of these changes also increased the risk of endometrial cancer. They looked for 9 genetic changes associated with an increased risk of breast cancer but none of them were linked to an increase in endometrial cancer.
The samples collected in the NSECG have helped researchers across the world to learn more about genetic changes and the risk of endometrial cancer.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
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Professor Ian Tomlinson
Professor Shirley Hodgson
Cancer Research UK
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)