LATEST UPDATES » Christmas Edition: What's your 360o View?       » Hong Kong-Swiss joint medical researchers to fight Cancer       » New agreement launches collaboration between New Zealand and China in Medical Science       » Gait recorded by Smart Phone reveals Your Emotion       » What to expect in year 2050?       » International Mountain Day: Are we making a mountain out of a molehill?      
Could One Cancer Test Find Unrelated Tumors?

Researchers looked at 12 major types of cancer and identified 127 repeatedly mutated genes that seem to drive the development and progression of a range of tumors.

The discovery sets the stage for devising new diagnostic tools and more personalized cancer treatments.

The study shows that some of the same genes commonly mutated in certain cancers also occur in seemingly unrelated tumors. For example, a gene mutated in 25 percent of leukemia cases in the study also was found in tumors of the breast, rectum, head and neck, kidney, lung, ovary, and uterus.

Based on the findings, the researchers envision that a single test that surveys errors in a swath of cancer genes eventually could become part of the standard diagnostic workup for most cancers. Results of such testing could guide treatment decisions for patients based on the unique genetic signatures of their tumors.

New insights into cancer are possible because of advances in genome sequencing that enable scientists to analyze the DNA of cancer cells on a scale that is much faster and less expensive today than even a few years ago. While earlier genome studies typically have focused on individual tumor types, the current research is one of the first to look across many different types of cancer.

“This is just the beginning,” says senior author Li Ding of the Genome Institute at Washington University in St. Louis. “Many oncologists and scientists have wondered whether it’s possible to come up with a complete list of cancer genes responsible for all human cancers. I think we’re getting closer to that.”

Just a Few Mutations

The new research analyzed the genes from 3,281 tumors — a collection of cancers of the breast, uterus, head and neck, colon and rectum, bladder, kidney, ovary, lung, brain, and blood. In addition to finding common links among genes in different cancers, the researchers also identified a number of mutations exclusive to particular cancer types.

Looking at a large number of tumors across many different cancers gives the researchers the statistical power they need to identify significantly mutated genes. These genetic errors occur frequently in some cancers and rarely in others but are nevertheless thought to be important to cancer growth.

While the average number of mutated genes in tumors varied among the cancer types, most tumors had only two to six mutations in genes that drive cancer. This may be one reason why cancer is so common, the researchers say.

“While cells in the body continually accumulate new mutations over the years, it only takes a few mutations in key driver genes to transform a healthy cell into a cancer cell,” notes Ding.

The scientists, which include co-first authors Cyriac Kandoth and Michael McLellan, both at Washington University, along with collaborator Benjamin Raphael from Brown University, were also able to identify genes that have a significant effect on survival.

TP53, an already well-known cancer gene, occurred most commonly across the different tumor types. It was found in 42 percent of samples and routinely was associated with a poor prognosis, particularly in kidney cancer, head and neck cancer, and acute myeloid leukemia.

Hints at Prognosis

Another gene, BAP1, also was linked with an unfavorable prognosis, especially in patients with kidney and uterine cancer.

However, mutations in the breast cancer gene BRCA2 were associated with improved survival in ovarian cancer, while errors in IDH1 were linked to an improved prognosis in gliobastoma, a particularly aggressive brain tumor, and in other cancer types.

“Because we now know, for example, that genes mutated in leukemia also can be altered in breast cancer and that genetic errors in lung cancer also can show up in colon and rectal cancer, we think one inclusive diagnostic test that includes all cancer genes would be ideal,” Ding says. “This would provide a more complete picture of what’s going on in a tumor, and that information could be used to make decisions about treatment.”

The National Cancer Institute, the National Human Genome Research Institute, and the National Science Foundation supported the research.

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

Click here for the complete issue.

news iGene: Non-Invasive Prenatal Test Kit (Keep at Room Temperature)
news Nanyang Technological University Smart Chip tells you how healthy your battery is
news Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore (MBI) and Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI) at National University of Singapore

Christiana Figueres on COP21 Paris and the World's Response to Climate Change click here.

APBN Editorial Calendar 2015
Trends and Predictions for 2015
Robotics in Healthcare
April & May:
Universal Health Coverage
Start-Up Biotech Companies
Preventative and Translational Medicine
ASEAN Economic Community and Asia's Life Sciences Industry
Big Data: Healthcare and Drug Development
Clear Air
December (Christmas Edition):
What's your 3600 view?
APBN Editorial Calendar 2016
Korea's Biotechnology Industry
Antibody Engineering in Japan
Life-Saving Opportunities: A Guide to Regenerative Medicine
Tobacco Smoking: The 'Real' Cost of One Cigarette
Medical Devices and Technology
Occupational Health
Water Technology
Olympics: Evolution of Sports
Respiratory: Seasonal flu viruses
About Us
Available issues
Editorial Board
Letters to Editor
Instructions to Authors
Advertise with Us
Editorial calendar is subjected to changes. – Editor: Yuhui N Lin
World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd.
5 Toh Tuck Link, Singapore 596224
Tel: 65-6466-5775
Fax: 65-6467-7667
» Editorial Enquiries: biotech_edit@wspc.com
» For Subscriptions, Advertisements &
   Media Partnerships Enquiries:
   Ms PoPo Kwok or Ms Sok Ching Lim
Copyright© 2015 World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd  •  Privacy Policy