Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Study Reveals Genes That Drive Brain Cancer


Although in a specific cancer hundreds of genes may be mutated, only some of those mutations actually drive the cancer. A Columbian team of researchers has used a combination of high throughput DNA sequencing (sequencing the DNA and RNA of every gene in nearly 140 glioblastomas) and a new method of statistical analysis (whose algorithm is designed to not only distinguish drivers from other mutations, but also the identify the manner in which it is mutated) to generate a short list of driver candidates. 

Although 15 of the driver genes were already known through other studies (which helps confirm the method works), it also identified 18 new candidates that had never been implicated in glioblastoma.

What is also promising is that for the about 15% of patients with glioblastomas that are driven by either EGFR gene fusions (meaning a mutation of the gene EGFR and one of several other genes) or FGFR and TACC fusions, FDA-approved drugs to target those genes are already available. The researchers suggest that clinical trials should begin to determine if these patients might benefit from the existing EGFR inhibitors and FGFR kinase inhibitors.

Press release: http://bit.ly/1bmk9ZG