PHOENIX, Ariz. July 20, 2009 California and Arizona researchers have identified a gene variant that carries nearly twice the risk of developing an increasingly common type of blood cancer, according to a study published online today by the science journal Nature Genetics.
Investigators at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) found that mutations in a gene called C6orf15, or STG, are associated with the risk of developing follicular lymphoma. This is a cancer of the body's disease-fighting network whose rates have nearly doubled in the past three decades.
In the first genome-wide association study of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, scientists at UC Berkeley and TGen identified a SNP a single nucleotide polymorphism that could determine susceptibility to follicular lymphoma. The SNP, a DNA variant within the more than 3-billion base pairs in the human genome, was identified as rs6457327.
The study was led by Dr. Christine Skibola, Associate Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health, and by Dr. Kevin M. Brown, an Associate Investigator in the Integrated Cancer Genomics Division of TGen, a Phoenix-based, non-profit biomedical research institute.
"What's exciting about this study is that we found a target in the genome influencing the susceptibility to follicular lymphoma, which helps us discern between three major types of lymphomas," said Skibola, the paper's co-lead author. "That had not been done before on a genome-wide scale. It is our hope that this research may some day be useful in helping develop prevention, early detection and treatment of this disease."
Follicular lymphoma accounts for as much as 30 percent of all non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system involving the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes. In NHL, tumors develop in lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Fol
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The Translational Genomics Research Institute