A genomic analysis of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), the most common form of kidney cancer, from 72 patients has uncovered 31 genes that are key to development, growth and spread of the cancer, say researchers from Mayo Clinic in Florida. Eight of these genes had not been previously linked to kidney cancer, and six other genes were never known to be involved in any form of cancer.
Their study, in the journal Oncotarget, is the most extensive analysis to date of gene expression’s role in ccRCC tumor growth and metastasis. The ccRCC subtype accounts for 80 percent of all kidney cancer cases.
This study is a thorough analysis, because overexpressed genes were functionally tested in kidney cancer cells to ensure they were important to some aspect of the cancer process, says the study’s senior investigator, molecular biologist, John A. Copland, Ph.D.
“The power of this study is that we looked at genes discovered to be over-expressed in patients’ tumors and determined their function in kidney cancer, which has not been done on a large scale before,” he says. “This is a seminal step in identifying key pathways and molecules involved in kidney cancer so that specific therapies that target these new genes can be developed to treat this cancer.”
This kidney cancer is one of the top 10 solid cancers in the U.S. Researchers expect 60,000 new cases to be diagnosed this year, with 13,000 deaths. While the prognosis for kidney cancer that has not spread is good, patients with advanced or metastatic cancer will develop drug resistance. Patients with untreated metastatic disease have a five-year overall survival rate of less than 10 percent.
The research team, which includes Mayo graduate student and lead author Christina von Roemeling, has already published several studies identifying some of the genes they discovered in the genetic analysis. In considering the importance of these discoveries to patients, they decided to publish all the genes at once in Oncotarget.
Read the full press release on the Mayo Clinic News Network.