Gene Has Strong Ties to Stomach Cancer

Discovery brings better understanding of one form of the disease

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SUNDAY, June 3, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Canadian researchers say they've identified genetic mutations linked to a form of stomach cancer called hereditary diffuse gastric cancer.

They did so by conducting genetic analyses of members of 38 families with the disease.

The mutations they identified in the study participants were due to both common ancestry and independent mutational events.

Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer (HDGC) is caused by mutations in the gene CDH1. Of the 38 families in the study, 26 families had at least two gastric cancer cases, with one case of HDGC in a person younger than age 50; 12 families had either a single case of HDGC in a person younger than age 35 or multiple cases of HDGC in people older than age 50.

The researchers from the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver identified 13 mutations (six newly discovered) in 15 of the 38 families -- 40 percent.

"Our results confirm that between 30 percent and 40 percent of families with a positive family history of gastric cancer and more than 50 percent of families with 2 diffuse gastric cancer cases diagnosed prior to age 50 years will carry germline mutations in the CDH1 gene," the study authors wrote.

The study was to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, and will also appear in the June 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In an accompanying editorial in JAMA, Dr. Kirsten N. Kangelaris and Dr. Stephen B. Gruber of the University of Michigan wrote that this kind of study helps "clinicians understand and manage HDGC with more precision, helps families understand the risks accompanying a mutation in CDH1, and helps population geneticists better understand the distribution of recurrent mutations in CDH1."

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about stomach cancer.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, June 3, 2007

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