Scientists move closer to pinpointing gene involved in bowel cancer spread

Jun 02, 2010

Scientists may be on the cusp of pinpointing a gene that is involved in the progression and spread of bowel cancer, indicates research published ahead of print in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

If proved correct, the discovery could open up the possibility of new preventive or treatment options, say the authors.

is the third most common cancer in the UK and the second leading cause of cancer death in the US.

Up to a third of bowel cancer cases are thought to be linked to inherited , but in 25% of cases the genetic faults/variants are not known.

The researchers analysed the genetic profiles of a large family of 81 members spanning five generations, whose details were entered on the Utah Population Database.

This genealogical database holds 7.5 million records, linked to other important health data, including state-wide cancer registries.

This particular family did not have the genetic faults/variations associated with the known inherited syndromes implicated in 5% of bowel cancers.

Instead, identified the long arm of chromosome 13 (13q), which was significantly associated with the incidence of bowel polyps (precancerous growths) or bowel cancer among family members.

Three family members had bowel cancer, two of which had already spread to other parts of the body when they were diagnosed at the ages of 42 and 35. A further nine family members and two spouses had bowel polyps.

Although 13q has not yet been identified as being linked to bowel cancer, this chromosome is often overexpressed in 30%-50% of primary bowel cancers, say the authors.

Genes within this chromosome are thought to play a key role in the progression and spread of bowel cancer, but none has been precisely identified as yet.

This is backed up by the finding that simple polyps seem to have rapidly advanced to invasive bowel cancer in this family as none had the intermediate type of polyp.

Once a gene has been identified and it is also found to be involved in sporadic rather than inherited cases of bowel cancer, it opens up the potential for new preventive and treatment approaches, say the authors.

Explore further: New research discovers gene that reduces risk of stroke

More information: Journal of Medical Genetics - www.jmg.bmj.com

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Science of romantic relationships includes gene factor

Nov 23, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—Adolescents worry about passing tests, winning games, lost phones, fractured bones—and whether or not they will ever really fall in love. Three Chinese researchers have focused on that ...

Stress reaction may be in your dad's DNA, study finds

Nov 21, 2014

Stress in this generation could mean resilience in the next, a new study suggests. Male mice subjected to unpredictable stressors produced offspring that showed more flexible coping strategies when under ...

More genetic clues found in a severe food allergy

Nov 21, 2014

Scientists have identified four new genes associated with the severe food allergy eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). Because the genes appear to have roles in other allergic diseases and in inflammation, the ...

Brain-dwelling worm in UK man's head sequenced

Nov 20, 2014

For the first time, the genome of a rarely seen tapeworm has been sequenced. The genetic information of this invasive parasite, which lived for four years in a UK resident's brain, offers new opportunities ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.