During the study, 200 thousand people's DNA was analysed for possible matches and divergences.
It almost doubled the known genes variations that are responsible for some of the deadliest forms of cancer - ovarian, breast and prostate.
The results suggest that among men whose family history gives them roughly a 20 percent lifetime risk for prostate cancer, such genetic markers could identify those whose real risk is 60 percent.
The markers also could make a difference for women with BRCA gene mutations, which puts them at high risk for breast cancer. Researchers may be able to separate those whose lifetime risk exceeds 80 percent from women whose risk is about 20 to 50 percent.
One doctor said that might mean some women would choose to monitor for cancer rather than taking the drastic step of having healthy breasts removed.Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women worldwide, with more than 1 million new cases a year.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men after lung cancer, with about 900,000 new cases every year. Ovarian cancer accounts for about 4 percent of all cancers diagnosed in women, causing about 225,000 cases worldwide.
The new results were released in 13 reports in Nature Genetics, PLOS Genetics and other journals. They come from a collaboration involving more than 130 institutions in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere.
The research was mainly paid for by Cancer Research U.K., the European Union and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
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