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deCODE and Radboud University Discover Common Variants in the Human Genome Conferring Risk of Bladder Cancer

Detection may be used to complement and target screening for the disease; findings will be integrated into the deCODEme(TM) personal genome scan.

REYKJAVIK, Iceland, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Scientists at deCODE genetics (Nasdaq: DCGN) and colleagues at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands today report the discovery of two common single-letter variants in the human genome (SNPs) that confer increased risk of urinary bladder cancer. Approximately 20% of people of European descent carry two copies of the first variant, a version of a SNP on chromosome 8q24, putting them at a 50% higher risk of developing bladder cancer than those without the variant. Individuals who carry two copies of a common version of another SNP on chromosome 3 were found to be at a 40% higher risk of the disease than non-carriers. These are the best-replicated genetic variants ever linked to bladder cancer risk, and the study analyzed genotypic data from more than 40,000 patients and controls from Iceland, the Netherlands and eight other European countries. The paper, entitled 'Sequence variant on 8q24 confers susceptibility to urinary bladder cancer,' will appear today in the online edition of Nature Genetics at

"In all cancers, the ability to identify individuals at high risk, screening them intensively and intervening early, is the key to improving prevention and outcomes. We expect that the detection of these and other risk variants will soon be employed to complement the assessment of standard risk factors for bladder cancer. As with all of our discovery work, we seek to publish our findings and establish a solid intellectual property position in order to bring these swiftly into the healthcare arena, and have already folded today's findings into our deCODEme(TM) personal genome analysis service. At the same time, we are working to identify the common thread of variants we and others have discovered on chromosome 8q24 that confer risk of several forms of cancer, including prostate, breast, colorectal and now bladder. If a common molecular mechanism exists, it could provide an important insight into oncogenesis more broadly," said Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE.

For a more detailed discussion of today's findings you can watch a video discussion between Dr. Stefansson and Dr. Simon Stacey on our blog, at

Urinary bladder cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer in the United States. It is estimated that 68,810 individuals will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in the United States during 2008 and that 14,100 people will die of the disease. Bladder cancer has been linked to exposure to various types of toxic substances such as cigarette smoke and industrial chemicals. Although it has been known for some time that genetic factors also play a significant role, identifying validated genetic risk variants had been problematic. Incidence of bladder cancer varies considerably between ethnicities, and as the risk factors reported here were discovered by analyzing DNA from groups of European descent, it is our hope that the publication of these findings will contribute to the swift analysis of the impact of these variants in cohorts of other continental ancestries.

The authors wish to thank the thousands of patients and control subjects who participated in this study, and acknowledge the assistance of national cancer registries that worked to identify potential participants. Data and sample collection in Iceland and the Netherlands was funded in part by European commission grants LSHC-CT-2005-018827 and LSHM-CT-2004-005166.

About deCODE

deCODE is a biopharmaceutical company applying its discoveries in human genetics to the development of diagnostics and drugs for common diseases. deCODE is a global leader in gene discovery -- our population approach and resources have enabled us to isolate key genes contributing to major public health challenges from cardiovascular disease to cancer, genes that are providing us with drug targets rooted in the basic biology of disease. Through its CLIA-registered laboratory, deCODE is offering a growing range of DNA-based tests for gauging risk and empowering prevention of common diseases, including deCODE T2(TM) for type 2 diabetes; deCODE AF(TM) for atrial fibrillation and stroke; deCODE MI(TM) for heart attack; deCODE ProCa(TM) for prostate cancer; and deCODE Glaucoma(TM) for a major type of glaucoma. deCODE is delivering on the promise of the new genetics.(SM) Visit us on the web at; on our diagnostics site at; for our pioneering personal genome analysis service, at; and on our blog at

Any statements contained in this presentation that relate to future plans, events or performance are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, and the timing of events, to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, those relating to our ability to obtain financing and to form collaborative relationships, uncertainty regarding potential future deterioration in the market for auction rate securities which could result in additional permanent impairment charges, our ability to develop and market diagnostic products, the level of third party reimbursement for our products, risks related to preclinical and clinical development of pharmaceutical products, including the identification of compounds and the completion of clinical trials, the effect of government regulation and the regulatory approval processes, market acceptance, our ability to obtain and protect intellectual property rights for our products, dependence on collaborative relationships, the effect of competitive products, industry trends and other risks identified in deCODE's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, without limitation, the risk factors identified in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any updates to those risk factors filed from time to time in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or Current Reports on Form 8-K. deCODE undertakes no obligation to update or alter these forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


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