Gene Mutation Linked to Kidney Cancer

Gene Mutation Linked to Kidney Cancer

A new probe by the British scientists into the commonest form of kidney cancer have unveiled a batch of new gene mutations linked to it, suggesting even this apparently "straightforward" cancer type can be divided into subtypes requiring tailored treatment.

Clear cell renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of gene mutation causing kidney cancer, accounting about 209,000 new cases and 102,000 deaths worldwide each year, according to figures cited in the study.

The research carried out included a vast DNA sequencing study of more than 3,500 genes from around 100 tumour samples.

Investigators also found two other genes, called JARID1C and SETD2, as culprits that are part of the molecular switching system that help packing DNA into chromosomes and are malignant to the functioning of cells. Mutation in these genes account for 5% of cases throwing light on the criticality of the kidney cancer.

"Even in this clearest of cases, we see evidence for substantial genetic heterogeneity", said Andy Futreal, co-leader of the Cancer Genome Project at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge.

The technique brings many potential benefits, starting with diagnostic tools to spot people who are vulnerable to kidney cancer. It also throws up potential advantages for drug engineers to block or revert the effects of a malfunctioning gene.