Dr Paolo Radice speaks to ecancer.tv about the work he presented at HBOC 2011 looking at the role of genetic markers in the understand cancer predisposition. Dr Radice presented two papers; the first of these identified a mutation in the BRCA 1 gene that was recurrent in the Italian population, especially common amongst those living close to Bergamo. The identification of this mutation is encouraging because it provides an opportunity for large scale screening to increase breast cancer detection. The second paper outlined the results of a trial evaluating the SLX4 gene as a possible genetic basis to the established link between Fanconi anaemia and risk of breast cancer. Dr Radice considers the future direction of research into genetic markers, explains how an increase in the number of people tested will benefit the development of targeted therapies and discusses the need for more international banks of genetic information.