Section of Genetics - Genetic Epidemiology Group
It has long been recognized that family members of an individual with cancer are themselves at increased risk of cancer. This familial clustering may stem from inherited variation in specific genes, from shared environmental exposures among family members, or from interaction between specific genetic and environmental factors. By identifying genetic variants that increase the risk of common cancers and determining how these genetic effects interact with known environmental risk factors, it will be possible to elucidate the reasons why cancers develop and to potentially identify individuals who are at particularly high risk.
The goals of the Genetic Epidemiology Group (GEP) are:
- to identify cancer predisposition genes through large-scale case-control studies of specific cancers with known polymorphisms (and whole genome scans) and through linkage studies of high-risk families;
- to participate in international consortia in order to ensure that studies have adequate sample size; and
- to estimate the age- and site-specific risks of cancer conferred by mutations and/or polymorphic variations in these genes and examine how these risks are modified by known environmental factors.