Future breast cancer treatment could be aided by the unearthing of a new gene which is responsible for hitherto unexplained cases of the disease.
A study from scientists working at the University of Melbourne used the latest DNA sequencing technology to identify the XRCC2 gene.
"This discovery will assist some families to determine individual risk and which family members are at high risk of contracting the disease," said lead author of the report Professor Melissa Southey.
She explained that patients with the gene mutation could also now benefit from specific treatments, which can target the rogue cellular processes associated with XRCC2.
The team believes that massively parallel sequencing, which was used in this instance, is efficient enough to mean that such discoveries may become more commonplace in the future.
According to Cancer Research UK, women with a mother, sister or daughter diagnosed with breast cancer have almost double the risk of developing the disease themselves.