Tumor suppressor genes predict bladder cancer future

The presence of two mutated genes in bladder cancer tumors indicates there is a high risk that the cancer will continue grow and spread, said a Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) researcher in a report released today in the March 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

One of the mutated proteins – p53 – is a tumor suppressor that in its normal form prevents cell changes that can lead to cancer. When p53 binds to DNA is stimulates another gene to produce p21. Then p21 interacts with a protein that stimulates cell division. When p21 is in a complex with this protein, the cell cannot go through the next stage of division. Mutations in the genes prevent these protective mechanisms.

In this study, Dr. Seth Lerner, associate professor urology at BCM, evaluated the roles of four gene alterations in the tumors of 80 bladder cancer patients. They found that one of the genes was altered in 83 percent of patients.

However, p53 proved the strongest predictor that the cancer would progress and p21 was the next strongest. This indicates that these genes play an important role in the development of this disease and should be more closely studied, said Lerner in his paper.

Others who participated in the study came from the Methodist Hospital in Houston, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; and The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.

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Lori Williams EurekAlert!

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