A gene that is changed in many forms of cancer has also been found to show similar changes in some forms of autism, according to preliminary research.
The gene, known as PTEN, was found to be changed, or mutated, in three of 18 people with larger than normal heads and autism spectrum disorder. Autism spectrum disorder includes classical autism, Rett syndrome and other conditions. The study was led by researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital (OSU CCC-James) and Richard J. Solove Research Institute and at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, Mo.
Inherited gene mutations in the PTEN gene are seen in Cowden syndrome, a poorly recognized disorder that increases a person’s risk of developing cancers of the breast, thyroid and uterus. PTEN mutations are also found in several non-inherited (i.e., spontaneous) cancers, including thyroid and endometrial cancers and some brain tumors.
Darrell E. Ward | EurekAlert!
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