DNA variations up brain cancer risk

July 6th, 2009 - 2:10 pm ICT by ANI  

London, July 6 (ANI): A collaborative study conducted by Mayo Clinic and University of California San Francisco (UCSF) researchers has shed light on a connection between DNA alterations on human chromosome 9 and aggressive brain cancer known as glioblastoma.

Different patient populations at each institution were involved in the study, which looked for genome-wide associations using individual patient data and information in the Cancer Genome Atlas.

The researchers found that persons with the specific alterations-also known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)-had a 50 percent higher relative risk of developing glioblastoma.

“This is not to cause those who possess these SNPs to worry about having CT scans every year,” Nature magazine quoted Dr. Robert Jenkins, genetics researcher and Mayo senior author of the study, as saying.

He says that an individual’s environment also has much to do with their risk of cancer, and that such external factors may need to be present to trigger onset of brain tumours, even for those with these SNPs.

For finding out genes that might indicate an increased susceptibility to glioblastomas and other types of brain tumours, the research team searched over 250,000 variants in 692 adult glioma patients, and compared them to 3992 controls.

The researchers revealed that the study was later replicated using independent data from 176 glioma patients and 174 controls from Mayo Clinic.

“Replication is essential in genome wide association studies,” says Dr. Jenkins.

“Replication across independent patient populations is critical in establishing a real association between glioblastomas and the presence of these SNPs in the genome of patients with that type of brain tumour,” Dr. Jenkins adds.

A research article on the study has been published in the journal Nature Genetics. (ANI)

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