Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Inherited genetic variations have a major impact on childhood leukemia risk

Date:
March 19, 2013
Source:
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Summary:
A new study links inherited variations in a few genes to a substantially increased risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and helps to explain ethnic differences in the cancer’s incidence.

Humans have between 20,000 and 25,000 genes that carry instructions for assembling the proteins that do the work of cells. Work led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital found that children who inherit certain variations in four particular genes are at much higher risk of developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

The study also showed that Hispanic patients were more likely than patients of European or African ancestry to inherit high-risk versions of two of these genes. ALL rates are known to be higher among Hispanic children than those of European or African ancestry, this discovery points to at least one reason for that difference.

Each person's genome includes two copies of each gene, one from each parent. Thus, individuals could inherit up to eight high-risk versions of the four genes tied to an increased ALL risk. In this study, researchers found that having more than five copies of the risk genes resulted in a nine-fold greater risk of developing ALL in childhood than inheriting no more than one copy.

The report appears online March 19 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The findings stem from one of the largest multi-ethnic studies of genetic variation and ALL susceptibility ever conducted. The work included 2,450 pediatric ALL patients and 10,977 individuals from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds without the disease.

The study's senior author, Jun J. Yang, Ph.D., an assistant member of the St. Jude Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, said that the absolute risk for a particular child of developing ALL remains low. "ALL is a complex disease that likely involves many genes," he said. "The discoveries we are reporting in this paper are an important step forward in terms of understanding why children develop ALL in the first place, particularly for those with African or Hispanic ethnicity. However, this is probably still just a small part of the complete picture."

Along with providing insight into ethnicity and ALL risk, the study also offered clues to understanding the age pattern of ALL, which peaks in children ages 2 to 4. These findings suggest that younger patients might be most vulnerable to the effects of the high-risk gene variations.

This year about 3,000 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ALL, making it the most common childhood cancer. It is also among the most curable. Evidence that inheritance plays a role in childhood ALL risk has been building in recent years, but previous studies focused almost exclusively on patients of European ancestry. Thanks in part to new statistical methods for studying genetic variation in more diverse populations, this study expanded the quest to understand the genetic basis of ALL risk to include patients of African and Hispanic as well as European ancestry.

The effort involved ALL patients treated at St. Jude and through the Children's Oncology Group, the world's largest cooperative pediatric cancer research organization, As a comparison, investigators also screened DNA from individuals without ALL. Researchers used an automated system to check each person's DNA for 709,059 gene variations. In this study, ethnicity was assigned based on gene variations representative of European, African and Native American ancestry.

Previous studies from St. Jude and others linked pediatric ALL risk to common differences in the ARID5B, IKZF1, CEBPE and CDKN2A/2B genes. All play a role in normal blood and immune system development. ALL is a cancer of certain immune cells. In this study, researchers also discovered several variations in the gene PIP4K2A, which were associated with an elevated pediatric ALL risk. Hispanic patients were more likely than others in this study to inherit high-risk versions of the ARID5B and PIP4K2A genes, while African-American patients were less likely to have these variants.

The study's first authors are Heng Xu and Wenjian Yang, both of St. Jude. The other authors are Virginia Perez-Andreu, Yiping Fan, Cheng Cheng, Deqing Pei, Charles Mullighan, Deepa Bhojwani, Ching-Hon Pui, William Evans and Mary Relling, all of St. Jude; Meenakshi Devidas, University of Florida, Gainesville; Paul Scheet, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; Esteban Gonzalez Burchard, Celeste Eng, Scott Huntsman, Dara Torgerson and Mignon Loh, all of the University of California, San Francisco; Michael Dean, National Cancer Institute; Naomi Winick, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas; Paul Martin, Duke University, Durham, N.C.; Bruce Camitta, Medical College of Wisconsin; W. Paul Bowman, Cook Children's Medical Center, Ft. Worth; Cheryl Willman, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; William Carroll, New York University; and Stephen Hunger, University of Colorado, Aurora.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "Inherited genetic variations have a major impact on childhood leukemia risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319201943.htm>.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. (2013, March 19). Inherited genetic variations have a major impact on childhood leukemia risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319201943.htm
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "Inherited genetic variations have a major impact on childhood leukemia risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319201943.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The new drug from Novartis could reduce cardiovascular deaths by 20 percent compared to other similar drugs. 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