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Genome study charts genetic landscape of lung cancer
Date:11/4/2007

cer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide each year more than 1 million people die of the disease, including more than 150,000 in the United States. New approaches to treatment rely on a deeper understanding of what goes wrong in cells to spur cancer growth. Through decades of research, it has become clear that lung cancer like most human cancers stems mainly from DNA changes that accrue in cells throughout a persons life. But the nature of these changes and their biological consequences remain largely unknown.

To assemble a genome-wide catalog of genetic differences in lung cancer cells, a large-scale project was recently launched in lung adenocarcinoma. The effort, known as the Tumor Sequencing Project (TSP), unites scientists and clinicians throughout the cancer research community.

The TSP researchers studied more than 500 tumor specimens from lung cancer patients. Access to this large collection of high-quality samples made it possible to determine the genetic changes shared among different patients such recurring changes can highlight important genes involved in cancer growth. This project was made possible through the foresight of a dedicated group of oncologists, pathologists, and surgeons, who carefully and diligently preserved tissues from lung cancer patients over many years, said Meyerson.

To analyze DNA from each lung tumor, the scientists relied on recent genomic technologies to scan the human genome for hundreds of thousands of genetic markers, called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs. This high-resolution view helped pinpoint which parts of the tumor genome were present in excess copies or missing altogether. The regions of genomic aberration were then identified with new analytical tools, including a computational method called GISTIC and methods for visualizing SNP data developed by co-first authors Gaddy Getz and Barbara Weir and co-authors Rameen Beroukhim and Jim Robinson.

From this work,
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Contact: Nicole Davis
ndavis@broad.mit.edu
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Source:Eurekalert

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