A huge, international cancer study has identified 74 DNA regions associated with breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, more than doubling the number of genetic markers known, reports the Los Angeles Times. The Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study, or COGS, combined the research on 250,000 people around the world to create a more complete genetic map than a smaller study could by itself—approaches the researchers call "model strategies for designing future arrays."
Doctors say they hope these results could eventually improve early detection and treatment. But with breast cancer alone thought to have more than 1,000 genetic regions associated with it, researchers estimate two-thirds of the variations remain unknown. "While these papers may not be what the average person is looking for—e.g., a cure for cancer—they have important near-term value" for medical researchers, says one epidemiologist. Click to check out the full original study in Nature Genetics. (Read more cancer stories.)