Women's Paternal Grandmas May Be Tied to This Type of Cancer

Women's risk for ovarian cancer may be passed down from the father's side of the family
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2018 2:34 PM CST
If sisters in one family have ovarian cancer, it may be tied to their dad.   (Getty Images/spukkato)

(Newser) – Sons inherit a baldness gene from their moms, and now scientists are pointing to another parent-child link on the opposite side. Per the BBC, fathers can pass down a gene mutation to their daughters that can raise the risk of ovarian cancer, per a study published Thursday in Plos Genetics. The 30-year study of nearly 3,500 grandmother/granddaughter pairs culled from the Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry found that women had a spiked risk of ovarian cancer if their grandmothers on their fathers' side had had the disease. The mutation, which was found to be distinct from the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations that are inherited from both parents, was also tied to a higher rate of prostate cancer in both the fathers and their sons, per News.com.au. To work out their experiment, researchers pulled 186 women with ovarian cancer and sequenced their X chromosomes.

What they found was women whose paternal grandmothers suffered from the disease had double the risk of developing the cancer than those whose maternal grandmothers had had it. Daughters get a total of one X chromosome from their dads, and on that chromosome is where the possibly mutated MAGEC3 gene lies. Women can receive the gene from their moms as well—but since their fathers are only giving them one X chromosome, if the gene is mutated, the daughters are sure to receive it, per Newsweek. Women with this mutated gene also seemed to get ovarian cancer nearly seven years earlier than they would have without the mutated gene. That means if sisters within one family get ovarian cancer, all paths may lead back to Dad. "A family with three daughters who all have ovarian cancer is more likely to be driven by inherited X mutations than by BRCA mutations," study co-author Kevin Eng says. (Scientists hope a blood test may one day catch ovarian cancer early.)

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