Breast Cancer Genetics

👉Lifetime breast cancer risk is only 13% for identical twins of breast cancer patients compared to 9% for dizygotic twins.

👉Twin studies are important because they help us understand how far genetics will get us as we try to risk stratify populations.

👉Other twin studies have estimated that 12% to 30% of breast cancer is primarily genetic in origin.

👉Thus, only a minority of breast cancers are directly attributed to germline genetics and only 5% to 10% are thought to be due to inheritance of mutations in major autosomal dominant breast cancer predisposition genes.


  1. Baker SG, Lichtenstein P, Kaprio J, et al. Genetic susceptibility to prostate, breast, and colorectal cancer among Nordic twins. Biometrics. 2005;61:55-63.
  2. Lichtenstein P, Holm NV, Verkasalo PK, et al. Environmental and heritable factors in the causation of cancer–analyses of cohorts of twins from Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. N Engl J Med. 2000;343:78-85.
  3. Locatelli I, Lichtenstein P, Yashin AI. The heritability of breast cancer: a Bayesian correlated frailty model applied to Swedish twins data. Twin Res. 2004;7:182-191.










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