Breast Cancer Genes – What Are They, Types and More

Cancer is a medical condition that results from abnormal changes or mutations of genes. The genes in the body instruct the cells on what to do. The abnormal development of proteins and cells leads to cancer. Gene serves as the hereditary cause of breast cancer, while environmental factors also play a role in the development of this medical condition.

Having a family history of cancer acts as a major risk factor for other members of the family. Research has shown that two genes called BRCA1 and BRCA2, when mutated, have been identified as a major cause of breast cancer.

Types of Breast Cancer Genes

There are two major genes significant for hereditary breast cancer and they are:


These mutations have become a significant trigger for inherited breast and ovarian cancer. This gene belongs to the tumor suppressor gene and it helps to regulate cell division and it prevents the cells from growing rapidly and in an uncontrolled manner. This gene inhibits the growth of cells that line the milk ducts in the breast. A mutated BRCA1 gene makes the protein abnormally short and these abnormal proteins form a defect. These defects accumulate and may cause the cells to grow and divide uncontrollably and thereby leading to the formation of a tumor. Mutations of these genes also cause prostate cancer, [1] colon cancer and ovarian cancer.


This gene gives instructions to proteins to act as tumor suppressors and therefore, control the rate at which cells divide and grow. This BRCA2 protein reacts with other proteins and this leads to the repair of damaged and broken DNA. The BRCA2 protein plays a major role in the stability of genetic information. Research has shown that males with this gene are at greater risk of male breast cancer.