Discovery could lead to new targeted, individualized treatments, experts say
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have identified 26 genes associated with the most common type of lung cancer, adenocarcinoma -- more than doubling the number of genes known to play a role in the deadly disease.
The discovery could help in developing individualized ways of diagnosing and treating lung cancer, the top cancer killer, the researchers said.
"Although similar, smaller cancer gene sequencing projects have been reported, our study is the largest to date and provides the statistical power to detect significantly mutated genes," study co-author Richard Wilson, director of Washington University's Genome Sequencing Center in St. Louis, said during a Tuesday teleconference.
The research, known as the Tumor Sequencing Project, has important implications for the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, Wilson said. "But we consider it just a beginning. Over the next few years, we expect to extend this study both in terms of the number of individual cases that we study and the extent of the cancer genome we can explore," he said.
Before the new research, 10 genes linked to adenocarcinoma had been identified, including six of the 26 reported in this study. The findings were published in the Oct. 23 issue of Nature.
For the study, researchers looked for genetic mutations in lung cancer cells. These changes occur in the tumor and are not inherited or found elsewhere in the body, Dr. Matthew Meyerson, from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and an associate professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said during the teleconference.
"These mutations are important, because mutated genes can be targets for anti-cancer therapy," Meyerson said.
The researchers determined the DNA sequence of 623 genes in 188 lung adenocarcinomas. Then they compared th
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