VAI Findings Could Aid Diagnosis and Treatment of Several Types of Kidney Cancer

Van Andel Institute researchers are first to associate unique DNA changes with several types of renal cell carcinoma

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., September 12, 2008 /PRNewswire/ -- Van Andel Institute (VAI) researchers have identified unique DNA changes in each of several types of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer in adults. These findings could aid in the diagnosis of these cancers since the many types of RCC are currently identified only by their appearance. Further research could identify drug targets for each type of RCC.

"There are so many subtypes of RCC, and currently they are identified by sight, which can be subjective," said VAI Distinguished Scientific Investigator Bin Tean Teh, M.D., Ph.D., whose laboratory published the recent findings in Cancer Letters. "Now we have an objective, definitive way to identify several types of RCC, which could have diagnostic and prognostic value."

The researchers found DNA changes specific to type 1 and 2 papillary RCC, sarcomatoid RCC, and clear cell RCC with and without a mutation of the VHL gene. They also found changes specific to both low-grade and high-grade clear cell carcinoma tumors. The DNA changes have to do with the number of copies of different chromosomes found in tumor cells, which researchers found was different from normal cells and among different types of RCC.

Teh said that the DNA changes they found could also lead to potential drug targets. "Each type of RCC is believed to be caused by something different," said Teh, "so ideally, different targets and therapeutic strategies should be selected for each subtype for effective treatment."

According to the American Cancer Society, RCC is the most common type of kidney cancer. In the United States, approximately 54,000 new cases of RCC are diagnosed and 13,000 deaths attributed to the disease each year.

Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996, Van Andel Institute is an independent research organization dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process.

CONTACT: Joe Gavan, Vice President, Communications and Development, VanAndel Institute, +1-616-234-5390

Web site: http://www.vai.org/

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Posted: September 2008

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