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3 new genetic links to colorectal cancer
Date:12/23/2012

tified 64 variants, or "single nucleotide polymorphisms" (SNPs), that were associated with colorectal cancer.

The investigators then replicated these findings in another set of samples, narrowing down the number of disease-associated variants to four. Three of those four variants were also associated with colorectal cancer risk in a larger European sample.

"The findings from this study are relevant to both Asian and European populations," said Zheng. "Interestingly, these three susceptibility loci were not discovered in previous studies conducted in European-ancestry populations."

This study highlights the importance of conducting genetic studies in non-European populations to fully uncover the genetic basis for common diseases, including colorectal cancer, Zheng noted.

While the specific functions of these newly identified susceptibility loci are not clear yet, several important genes are located in the regions near the risk variants discovered in this study. For example, one risk variant is located near CCND2, the gene encoding cyclin D2, a member of the cyclin family of proteins that regulate the cell cycle. Cyclins have been linked to cancer, but research on the CCND2 gene has been limited. Therefore, the current findings suggest the need for further research on the role of other cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases in carcinogenesis.

"These new discoveries are very exciting," Zheng said. "They will certainly lead to future studies regarding the biology of these regions and the translational potential of these findings in cancer prevention and treatment."


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Contact: Dagny Stuart
dagny.stuart@vanderbilt.edu
615-322-4747
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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