Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia say looking for genes that have been turned off by cancer cells may become a reliable and noninvasive way to detect and monitor cancer in the kidney. The data were presented today at the 96th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Anaheim, Calif.
Tumor-suppressor genes are part of the bodys natural defense against cancer. When inactivated--or "silenced"--they can no longer do their job, allowing cancer cells to grow. Cancer cells use a mechanism called hypermethylation to turn off the tumor-suppressor genes. "Finding these silenced genes is a good way to find cancer," said Essel A. Dulaimi, M.D., a postdoctoral fellow at Fox Chase. "Abnormal patterns of methylation can be detected in many cancers, including kidney cancer," she added. Early diagnosis of kidney cancer can lead to earlier treatment with a curative outcome.
Dulaimi and fellow Fox Chase researchers used a molecular DNA-based test to determine the presence or absence of methylation in a particular gene. Called methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the test can find one methylated gene among 100 unmethylated alleles (genes at the same site on a specific chromosome).
Colleen Kirsch | EurekAlert!
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