Jewish and Hispanic women are in high-risk cancer group

By Margarita Snegireva. A gene known to give many Jewish women a high risk of cancer also puts many U.S. Hispanic women at high risk, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

They found that 3.5 percent of Hispanic women entered in a Northern California breast cancer registry had the BRCA1 genetic mutation, compared to 8.3 percent of Ashkenazic Jews and 2.2 percent of non-Ashkenazic white women.

Ashkenazi Jews , also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim are descended from the medieval Jewish communities of the Rhineland. Ashkenaz is the Medieval Hebrew name for Germany. Diseases that are inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern often occur in endogamous populations. Among Ashkenazi Jews, a higher incidence of cancer has been reported due to higher distribution of BRCA1 gene.

BRCA1 (breast cancer 1, early onset) is a human gene that belongs to a class of genes known as tumor suppressors, which maintains genomic integrity to prevent uncontrolled proliferation. The multifactorial BRCA1 protein product is involved in DNA damage repair, ubiquitination, transcriptional regulation as well as other functions. Variations in the gene have been implicated in a number of hereditary cancers, namely breast, ovarian and prostate.

The Hispanics in the United States or Hispanic Americans are an ethnic group in the United States with Hispanic heritage. An Hispanic person may be of any race (White, Amerindian, Black, Asian or Pacific islander). An Hispanic person's status is independent from whether or not he speaks the Spanish language. Not all Hispanic Americans speak Spanish.

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