Research Groups

Section of Genetics - Genetic Cancer Susceptibility Group


The objective of the Genetic Cancer Susceptibility Group (GCS) is the evaluation of inherited genetic factors involved in susceptibility to human cancers.

Many cancer types aggregate in families, with the same type of cancer being 2-4-fold more common in the patient's first-degree relatives than in the general population. A proportion of the familial risk can be explained by rare mutation in high-penetrance genes, exemplified by mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and risk of breast cancer. Some of the familial risk can also be explained by genetic variants that are common in the general population, but individually confer modest to small risk. The genome wide association study approach has been successful in identifying this later type variant, including many invovled in cancer susceptibility. Nevertheless, even in combination the genetic risk conferred by the variants identified so far can explain only a minor proportion of familial clustering, and most of the genetic risk remains to be discovered.

The GCS group aims to conduct genetic studies to further explore and describe genetic susceptibility to cancer, and how the variants involved in genetic susceptibility are related to events in the tumour tissue itself. We are involved in the studies of many types of cancer, including common cancers like breast cancer, but place emphasis on less common cancers such as head and neck (cancers of the nasopharynx, oral cavity and larynx), lymphomas and melanoma.