QIMR LogoScientists are working round the clock to deliver potential cancer therapies. On to road to one such therapy, QIMR researchers, as part of an international partnership, have apparently discovered that a gene that may be most generally linked to skin pigmentation, hair and eye color may affect a patient’s odds of surviving cancer.

The research discovered that a variant in the OCA2 gene could be connected to augmented survival in breast cancer patients.

“The variant of the gene is only a single change in the genetic sequence, but seems to have quite an impact. Our research focused on a specific type of breast cancer, oestrogen receptor negative breast cancer. Among these patients, those with the rare variation had a predicted survival rate of 83% at 10 years, compared to the common variant, which we found had a predicted 60% survival after 10 years,” commented, QIMR’s Professor Georgia Chenevix-Trench.

This type of essential research is imperative to comprehend cancer and offering effectual cancer treatments.

Clenevix-Trench mentioned, “Traditional ways of predicting survival and treatment response in cancer patients are not always successful or accurate. Our research aims to find new factors that can account for patients who have a better or worse outcome than expected. Understanding these factors may lead to better prediction of survival and hopefully, improved treatment options for individuals.”

This study examined around 3,700 breast cancer patients for this definite alteration in the OCA2 genetic sequence.

Clenevix-Trench remarked, “The genetic variant that is linked to cancer survival is not the same as the variant that affects pigmentation. There is no evidence that women with particular skin, hair or eye coloring have a different outcome from breast cancer.”

Professor Chenevix-Trench cautioned that this research apparently does not display an association between eye color and cancer survival.

The findings were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.