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    AACR: Promising Advances Seen in Genetics Research

    Discoveries may help patients with leukemia and ovarian, prostate, and bladder cancers

    WEDNESDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Genetics research is providing important new insights into cancer prevention and treatment, according to five studies presented at a press briefing this week at the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research held from April 18 to 22 in Denver.

    In one study, Charles G. Mullighan, M.D., of the St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and colleagues studied 221 children with B-progenitor acute lymphoblastic leukemia at high risk of relapse. They found that the four-year relapse rate was significantly higher in patients with JAK and IKZF1 alterations than in those with neither lesion (71 percent versus 23 percent), suggesting a potentially new diagnostic tool and therapeutic target.

    In the other four studies, researchers found that genetic variants in microRNA processing pathway genes may impact ovarian cancer predisposition; confirmed previous findings of susceptibility genes for chronic lymphocytic leukemia for all but one single nucleotide polymorphism on 19q13 (rs11083846); that UGT2B17 and UGT2B28 do not play a major role in prostate carcinogenesis; and that aberrant DNA methylation of bladder tumors provides markers that may predict patients that are high risk, identify noninvasive and invasive tumors, and detect tumor recurrence after resection.

    "The specific details depend on the type of cancer, but in general if a person has several relatives with a certain type of cancer, they should consider seeing a genetic counselor and make environmental adjustments that will decrease their risk," moderator John S. Witte, Ph.D., of the University of California in San Francisco, said in a statement.

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