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DNA Variations May Alter Risk of Hodgkin's Disease

Proteins that repair genetic damage are focus of new research

MONDAY, March 9 (HealthDay News) -- The chances of developing Hodgkin's disease could be up to four times greater for people with certain variations in genes that repair DNA, a new study shows.

Researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston found the association based on their analysis of variants in five DNA repair genes (XPC, XPD, XPG, XRCC1, and XRCC3) in 420 people, about half of whom had Hodgkin's disease, a type of lymphoma.

Proteins that fix damaged DNA help maintain cell health and help stave off cancer by preventing genetic damage from piling up. Previous studies have linked reduced DNA repair in people to susceptibility to certain cancers, including breast, colon and lung cancer.

The latest findings, scheduled to appear in the April 15 issue of Cancer, suggest that more study is needed of these genes and their possible role in the development of Hodgkin's disease.

"These data suggest that genetic polymorphisms in DNA repair genes may modify the risk of [Hodgkin's] disease, especially when interactions between the pathways are considered," authors of the study wrote.

More information

The National Library of Medicine has more about Hodgkin's disease.

-- Kevin McKeever

SOURCE: American Cancer Society, news release, March 9, 2009

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