Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Blood test may find markers of bladder cancer risk

Date:
February 23, 2011
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
Exposures to harmful substances in the environment alters the methylation of DNA, potentially elevating the risk of developing cancer. A new blood test can detect the abnormal pattern of methylation associated with bladder cancer, suggesting that it may be possible to assess a person's susceptibility to the disease.

A marker for toxic exposures: Carmen Marsit, with lab assistant Alison Migliori, hopes methylation patterns can be effective in prediction or diagnosis of bladder and other cancers.
Credit: Mike Cohea/Brown University

Knowing that it is impossible to catalog all the carcinogenic exposures a person has had in life and then assess them, Brown University researcher Carmen Marsit is looking for a more precise way to predict individual susceptibility to cancer. In a paper published online Feb. 22, 2011, in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Marsit leads a team of scientists in describing a blood test that can accurately detect biomolecular markers of bladder cancer that risky exposures may have left behind.

The test measures a pattern of "methylation," a chemical alteration to DNA that affects which genes are expressed in cells, that Marsit's team determined is associated with bladder cancer. Methylation is affected by exposures in the environment, such as cigarette smoke and industrial pollutants, so many scientists believe that abnormal patterns of it in the body could be indicators of an increased likelihood of disease.

"What we might be measuring is an accumulated barometer of your life of exposures that then put you at risk," said Marsit, assistant professor of medical science in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. "Will you ever really figure out if eating something when you were 12 gave you cancer? Instead we can use these kinds of markers as an integrated measure of your exposure history throughout your life."

Prediction or early detection?

To create the test, Marsit's team of scientists at Brown and Dartmouth studied the blood of 112 people who had bladder cancer and 118 who didn't. That gave them the tell-tale pattern of methylation to look for in immune system cells in the blood. Then, under properly blind conditions, they applied that test to the blood of a similar number of people who either had the cancer or didn't, and made their predictions.

They found that they could indeed determine who had the cancer and who didn't, based solely on the methylation pattern they observed. Controlling for the exposure to known risk factors like smoking that the patients reported, the researchers saw that people with the methylation pattern were 5.2 times more likely to have bladder cancer than people who did not have the pattern.

Because the samples used in the study came from people who already had the cancer, Marsit acknowledged that the scientists cannot be sure without further research whether the methylation markers in their immune system cells were predictors of cancer (i.e., they were present before the cancer began growing, as the team's hypothesis suggests) or simply indicated that the cancer was already there (i.e., they are a consequence of the cancer).

At a minimum, the study proves that the cancer is associated with a methylation pattern that can readily be detected in the blood, Marsit said. For cancers that are buried deep in the body and are therefore hard to detect, such as bladder cancer, a minimally invasive test that provides either prediction or early detection of cancer could make a big difference in improving a patient's prognosis, he added.

The researchers in the paper write that testing for methylation in blood cells could also be similarly applicable to other cancers.

Other authors in addition to Marsit include Brown researchers Devin Koestler, Brock Christensen, Andres Houseman, and Karl Kelsey, and Dartmouth researcher Margaret Karagas.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Carmen J. Marsit, Devin C. Koestler, Brock C. Christensen, Margaret R. Karagas, E. Andres Houseman, Karl T. Kelsey. DNA Methylation Array Analysis Identifies Profiles of Blood-Derived DNA Methylation Associated With Bladder Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2011; DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2010.31.3577

Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Blood test may find markers of bladder cancer risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222162306.htm>.
Brown University. (2011, February 23). Blood test may find markers of bladder cancer risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222162306.htm
Brown University. "Blood test may find markers of bladder cancer risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110222162306.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins