Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Single gene separates aggressive, non-aggressive lymphatic system cancer

Date:
June 29, 2014
Source:
Georgetown University Medical Center
Summary:
For a rare form of cancer called thymoma, researchers have discovered a single gene defining the difference between a fast-growing tumor requiring aggressive treatment and a slow-growing tumor that doesn't require extensive therapy. Most of the diagnosed patients have surgery, but, depending on the presumed aggressiveness of the cancer, some patients will have radiation and/or chemotherapy in addition or instead of surgery.

For a rare form of cancer called thymoma, researchers have discovered a single gene defining the difference between a fast-growing tumor requiring aggressive treatment and a slow-growing tumor that doesn't require extensive therapy.

Thymoma is a cancer derived from the epithelial cells of the thymus, an organ critical to the lymphatic system where T-cells, or so-called "killer cells," mature. Very little is known about the role of the gene mutation GTF2l in human tumors, but scientists from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and the National Cancer Institute say almost all indolent (slow growing and non-aggressive) forms of thymoma they tested have the mutation. They report their finding in Nature Genetics.

"Indolent thymomas seldom become aggressive, so the discovery that a single gene can identify tumors that do not need aggressive care is an important development for our patients," says the study's senior investigator, Giuseppe Giaccone, MD, PhD, associate director for clinical research at Georgetown Lombardi.

In addition to the clinical implications, the study is important because "it is highly unusual to find a single mutated gene that can define a class of tumors," he said. "Usually a substantial number of genes are involved. In fact, we also found that the more aggressive thymomas express well-known cancer genes found in other tumors -- which might give us clues about novel treatment of these cancers."

The thymus is located in the chest behind the breastbone. Thymoma and a second type of cancer of the thymus called thymic carcinoma are rare. According to the National Cancer Institute, these cancers counted together make up for only .2 to 1.5 percent of all cancers -- one case occurs in about every 700,000 individuals.

Most of the diagnosed patients have surgery, but, depending on the presumed aggressiveness of the cancer, some patients will have radiation and/or chemotherapy in addition or instead of surgery. "The use of these treatments in thymomas is controversial, because we know some patients don't need aggressive therapy, but until now, there's not been a clear way to know who those patients are," Giaccone says.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Iacopo Petrini, Paul S Meltzer, In-Kyu Kim, Marco Lucchi, Kang-Seo Park, Gabriella Fontanini, James Gao, Paolo A Zucali, Fiorella Calabrese, Adolfo Favaretto, Federico Rea, Jaime Rodriguez-Canales, Robert L Walker, Marbin Pineda, Yuelin J Zhu, Christopher Lau, Keith J Killian, Sven Bilke, Donna Voeller, Sivanesan Dakshanamurthy, Yisong Wang, Giuseppe Giaccone. A specific missense mutation in GTF2I occurs at high frequency in thymic epithelial tumors. Nature Genetics, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/ng.3016

Cite This Page:

Georgetown University Medical Center. "Single gene separates aggressive, non-aggressive lymphatic system cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140629142035.htm>.
Georgetown University Medical Center. (2014, June 29). Single gene separates aggressive, non-aggressive lymphatic system cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140629142035.htm
Georgetown University Medical Center. "Single gene separates aggressive, non-aggressive lymphatic system cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140629142035.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. 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