CINCINNATIUniversity of Cincinnati (UC) cancer cell biologists have identified a distinct gene linked to increased lung cancer susceptibility and development. They say this geneknown as RGS17could result in a genetic predisposition to develop lung cancer for people with a strong family history of the disease.
With further investigation, they believe the gene could be used to identify high-risk patients who may benefit from earlier, more aggressive lung cancer screening.
Marshall Anderson, PhD, and his colleagues report their findings in the April 15, 2009, issue of the journal Clinical Cancer Research.
"Understanding how the RGS17 gene impacts cancer development could change clinical diagnosis and treatment as radically as discovery of the breast cancer genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) did," explains Anderson, who has led the multi-institutional Genetic Epidemiology of Lung Cancer Consortium (GELCC) studying the genetic basis of lung cancer since 1997. "A proven genetic test could help us identify people at risk before the disease progresses."
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related disease and death. Although tobacco smoke is the primary environmental cause of the disease, science has shown there is also a strong genetic component to the disease.
"This study represents a significant contribution to our understanding of lung cancer susceptibility and is another step toward to the goal of preventive medicine," says David Christiani, MD, MPH, a professor of occupational medicine and environmental health at the Harvard School of Public Health, whose two-page commentary on the study is published in conjunction with the GELCC team's scientific findings. "The authors undertook a daunting challenge of performing a family-based study of lung cancer in an effort to identify specific causal genes."
Genes, which are located in fixed positions on the cell's chrom
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