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Study finds 231 new genes associated with head and neck cancer
Date:10/4/2009

chers to look for genetic abnormalities within tumor samples.

Using five DNA samples from tumor tissue, the researchers looked for 1,043 possible cancer genes. Those genes were cross-examined with those already reported in PubMeth, a cancer methylation database. Of the 441 genes in the database, only 33 genes were referenced in connection with head and neck cancer.

In all, the whole-genome methylation approach revealed 231 potential new genes not previously reported in head and neck cancer. Of those, 50 percent were present in three or more of the DNA samples, and 20 percent were represented in all five samples.

"DNA methylation is emerging as one of the most promising molecular strategies for early detection of cancer, independent of its role in tumor development," says Dr. Worsham. "Abnormal methylation can result in shutting off or silencing gene function. However, treatment with more recent drugs can reverse abnormal DNA methylation patterns, reactivating silenced genes, and restoring normal gene function. Therefore, a validated head and neck cancer-specific gene panel is likely to signify potential demethylation treatment targets."


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Contact: Krista Hopson
khopson1@hfhs.org
313-874-7207
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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