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Feb. 16 (UPI) — A genetic mutation linked to sped up onset of ovarian and prostate cancers, and passed through the X-chromosome, has been identified by researchers.

The mutation can also advance the start of ovarian cancer by six or more years, researchers at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo said. Their findings appeared in the journal PLOS Genetics on Thursday.

Earlier studies showed that when a woman develops ovarian cancer, her sister also faces a higher risk of developing the disease than her mother. The studies led to an examination by researchers of whether genes on the X-chromosome, passed down through the father, may contribute to a daughter’s risk of ovarian cancer.

Using the donor-funded Familial Ovarian Cancer Registry based at Roswell Park, the researchers collected genetic information about pairs of granddaughters and grandmothers.

Researchers found that ovarian cancer cases linked to genes inherited from the paternal grandmother had earlier onsets than those linked to maternal genes. There was also a connection to higher rates of prostate cancer in fathers and sons.

Additional sequencing identified a previously unknown mutation on the X-chromosome that may be associated ovarian cancer developing six or more years earlier than average.

The study indicates that a gene on the X-chromosome may contribute to a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer, suggesting that many cases of seemingly sporadic ovarian cancer are actually inherited. The findings could lead to improved cancer screening and better genetic risk assessment, researchers said.

“Our study may explain why we find families with multiple affected daughters: because a dad’s chromosomes determine the sex of his children, all of his daughters have to carry the same X-chromosome genes,” Kevin Eng, lead author of the study, said in a press release.

“What we have to do next is make sure we have the right gene by sequencing more families. This finding has sparked a lot of discussion within our group about how to find these X-linked families. It’s an all-or-none kind of pattern,” Eng said.