Protein Important in Colorectal Cancer Development

Second study finds two gene variants associated with bladder cancer

MONDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- A protein that controls the activity of another protein is important in colorectal cancer development, and two gene variants are associated with bladder cancer, according to two letters published online Sept. 14 in Nature and Nature Genetics.

In Nature, Ron Firestein, M.D., Ph.D., from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues report that they performed two screens to identify genes that controlled the activity of beta-catenin, whose activity is aberrantly increased in almost all colorectal cancers, and determined whether the copy number of these genes was altered in colon cancer specimens. They identified the CDK8 gene and found that suppression of the gene inhibited the growth of colon cancer cells that had high CDK8 levels and beta-catenin overactivity.

"These observations suggest that therapeutic interventions targeting CDK8 may confer a clinical benefit in beta-catenin-driven malignancies," Firestein's team concludes.

In a letter in Nature Genetics, Lambertus A. Kiemeney, Ph.D., from Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and colleagues report on a genome-wide study of single nucleotide polymorphisms in 1,803 cases of urinary bladder cancer and 34,336 controls, which were verified in an additional 2,165 cases and 3,800 controls, all of European ancestry. The researchers found two sequence variants on chromosomes 8q24 and 3q28, which were associated with odds ratios of 1.49 and 1.41, respectively, for homozygous carriers compared with non-carriers.

Several authors of the Nature report are consultants for Novartis, and several of the authors of the Nature Genetics report are shareholders in deCODE Genetics Inc.

Abstract - Firestein
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Abstract - Kiemeney
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