Cancer risk linked to BAP1 gene mutation

October 25th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Research News

diagram of gene mutation linked cancers including mesothelioma and melanoma

Individuals who carry a mutation in a gene called BAP1 are more likely to develop two forms of cancer—mesothelioma and melanoma of the eye—and may be at greater risk of developing breast, ovarian, pancreatic or renal cancers.

While rare, mesothelioma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. It kills about 3,000 people a year in the United States, about half of them within a year of diagnosis, and the number of new cases is on the rise in China and Europe.

Exposure to asbestos and erionite markedly increases the mesothelioma risk for individuals with the BAP1 mutation, according to a study led by UH Cancer Center scientists and colleagues at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Erionite occurs naturally in rock formations and volcanic ash in at least 12 states. A previous UH study reported evidence of inflammation of the lungs in mice injected with erionite from a North Dakota county where roads have been paved with gravel from rocks containing the mineral fiber.

The current study looked at two families with unusually high rates of mesothelioma and individuals with the disease who did not have a family history. Discovery of the genetic link improves understanding of the biological mechanisms underlying tumor development and advances development of screening tools to identify individuals at increased risk of the diseases, says study leader and UH Cancer Center Director Michele Carbone.

The results were reported online Aug. 28, 2011 in Nature Genetics. The research was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Read the abstracts on mesothelioma links to the BAP1 gene mutation and erionite gravel exposure.

Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.