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Mayo Clinic researchers find genetic secrets to common kidney cancer
Date:5/18/2010

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. By examining expression of every human gene in clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) compared to normal kidney cells, researchers at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida have discovered gene signatures they say explain much of the biology of this common and difficult-to-treat kidney cancer.

In the May 18 issue of PLoS ONE, the researchers report they have discovered: a biological pathway signature of ccRCC for a group of altered genes that give this distinct cancer its "clear cell" appearance; other genes that confer stem cell-like properties to the cancer; and a set of master genes lost in ccRCC that they believe likely pushes initial development of the cancer.

"Understanding these genes and the pathways they regulate could provide valuable insight into how to treat ccRCC," says hematologist/oncologist Han W. Tun, M.D., the study's first author.

This cancer makes up 80 percent of all kidney cancer and is often resistant to both chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Dr. Tun says. It accounts for just 3 percent of all cancers in the United States, but is the sixth leading cause of cancer death.

"Up until this point, ccRCC was largely a mystery, but now we have new and exciting clues that seem to reveal the origin and development of this cancer," says senior investigator John Copland, Ph.D., a cancer biologist.

The research team, which included scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, used a comprehensive genome-wide gene expression analysis to look at expression of about 25,000 genes in the human genome. The gene chip measures the amount of messenger RNA (mRNA) that is transcribed from genes as part of the protein production process.

They used this tool to measure
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Contact: Kevin Punsky
punsky.kevin@mayo.edu
904-953-0746
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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