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Most common bladder cancer genetically sequenced for 1st time

August 14, 2011 - London

A University of Colorado Cancer Centre team in partnership with universities in China and Denmark has accomplished the first genetic sequencing of urothelial (transitional) carcinoma, the most prevalent type of bladder cancer.

Recognizing the genetic mutations that make bladder cancer cells different than their healthy neighbours may allow early genetic screenings for cancer and new therapies targeting cells with these mutations.

In addition, the mutations the team found are similar to those recently discovered in a host of other cancers, implying a possible common denominator in the cause of cancer in general.

Specifically, in 59 percent of 97 patients with urothelial carcinoma, the team found mutations in genes responsible for chromatin remodelling - the process of packaging DNA for easy duplication during cell division.

"The discovery of mutation in the UTX gene and seven similar chromatin remodelling genes is a major step toward genetic testing and treatment of bladder cancer," said Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, director the University of Colorado Cancer Centre and an author on this work.

On a grand scale, the study also provides the first-ever overview of the genetic basis of urothelial bladder cancer and implicates chromatin remodelling in its cause.

The study was published online this week in Nature Genetics.


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