About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Non-coding DNA Mutations can also Drive Cancer

by Anjali Aryamvally on April 3, 2018 at 11:20 AM
Font : A-A+

Non-coding DNA Mutations can also Drive Cancer

Nearly 200 mutations in non-coding DNA have been identified to play a functional role in cancer, shows new study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center. Each of the mutations could represent a new target in the search for cancer drugs, according to the study published in Nature Genetics .

Most of the human genome -- 98 percent -- is made up of DNA but doesn't actually encode genes, the recipes cells use to build proteins. The vast majority of genetic mutations associated with cancer occur in these non-coding regions of the genome, yet it's unclear how they might influence tumor development or growth.

Advertisement


"Most cancer-related mutations occur in regions of the genome outside of genes, but there are so incredibly many of them that it's hard to know which are actually relevant and which are merely noise," said senior author Trey Ideker, PhD, professor at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center. "Here for the first time we found about 200 mutations in non-coding DNA that are functional in cancer -- and that's about 199 more than we knew before."

When doctors and scientists refer to "cancer genes," they're usually talking about the several hundred known genes that, when mutated, clearly help drive tumor formation and growth. When mutations occur within genes, they can shut down production of the protein that the gene encodes, or cause a malfunctioning version to be produced. For some of these cancer-related gene mutations, there are therapies that specifically target the mutation to inhibit tumor growth, an effort known as personalized or precision medicine .
Advertisement

Ideker and team wondered about all of the other, non-coding mutations in cancer. Almost no patient with cancer gets the same mutations. So what are all these mutations doing? Are they just noise? Or are they functional? And how do they differ between patients?

Researchers had previously tried looking for an answer in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), the National Institutes of Health's database of genomic information from more than 15,000 human tumors representing many cancer types. But they found only one non-coding mutation that seemed to play a role in cancer (it's called TERT).

According to Ideker, those previous attempts just couldn't match up non-coding mutations to cancer cell behaviors. His team also relied on TCGA data, comparing the tumor samples of 930 cancer patients to normal tissue samples from the same patients, but this time the researchers added an extra step.

"The secret sauce was to look for changes in gene expression," said Ideker, who is also founder of the UC San Diego Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and co-director of the Cancer Cell Map Initiative.

After finding nearly 200 non-coding mutations that alter gene expression, the team tested three of them in the laboratory. They replicated the non-coding mutation in cells and observed the resulting changes in gene expression.

"One example that stood out was a non-coding mutation affecting a gene called DAAM1," said first author Wei Zhang, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in Ideker's lab. "DAAM1 activation makes tumor cells more aggressive, and better able to invade surrounding tissues."

Next, the researchers will try to combine these non-coding mutations with coding mutations and determine if there are subtypes -- certain types of breast cancer that have a common pattern of both coding and non-coding mutations, for example. Their goal is to find actions for this information, such as whether or not a patient has a particular mutation pattern that can provide diagnostic or prognostic clues, or inform a particular approach to therapy.



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Cochlear Implants may Consequently Drive Hearing Loss
E-cigarettes Use Linked to Erectile Dysfunction
Memory Loss - Can it be Recovered?
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
DNA Finger Printing Cancer and Homeopathy Cancer Facts Genetic Testing of Diseases Cancer Tattoos A Body Art Epigenetics McArdle Disease Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant 

Recommended Reading
Effect of Genetic Mutations on IQ
An international research team is developing a model that can estimate the impact of genetic ......
Genetic Mutation That Disrupts Mitochondrial Functioning
Study identifies how a genetic mutation can interfere with the mitochondria, the powerhouses of ......
New Link between Gene Mutation and Brain Function in Huntington’s Disease Found
A new study finds alterations in functional connectivity in additional brain networks and has also ....
Mutations that cause Severe Infant Epilepsy Identified
SCN3A mutations were found to be the cause for severe infantile epilepsy and can lead to the ......
Common Lifestyle Habits that Cause Diseases
Cigarette smoking, unhealthy diets, overuse of alcohol, and physical inactivity are some of the most...
DNA Finger Printing
DNA fingerprinting is a technique which helps forensic scientists and legal experts solve crimes, id...
Epigenetics
In the recent years ‘epigenetics’ represents inheritable changes in gene expression that do not incl...
Genetic Testing of Diseases
Genetic testing helps to confirm a genetic condition in an individual and involves q complex laborat...
Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant
What is dandelion? Dandelion greens are nutrition powerhouses with a wide range of health benefits. ...
McArdle Disease
McArdle disease is a genetic disorder in which the body cannot breakdown glycogen in the muscles. It...
Tattoos A Body Art
Tattoos are a rage among college students who sport it for the ‘cool dude’ or ‘cool babe’ look...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use