Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Researchers Identify Genetic Mutation for Rare Cancer

Published: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Gene sequencing program gives researchers new leads to improve cancer treatment.

It started with a 44-year-old woman with solitary fibrous tumor, a rare cancer seen in only a few hundred people each year. By looking at the entire DNA from this one patient’s tumor, researchers have found a genetic anomaly that provides an important clue to improving how this cancer is diagnosed and treated.

Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center sequenced the tumor’s genome through a new program called MI-ONCOSEQ, which is designed to identify genetic mutations in tumors that might be targeted with new therapies being tested in clinical trials.

The sequencing also allows researchers to find new mutations. In this case, an unusual occurrence of two genes – NAB2 and STAT6 – fusing together. This is the first time this gene fusion has been identified.

“In most cases, mutations are identified because we see them happening again and again. Here, we had only one case of this. We knew NAB2-STAT6 was important because integrated sequencing ruled out all the known cancer genes. That allowed us to focus on what had been changed,” says lead study author Dan R. Robinson, research fellow with the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology.

Once they found the aberration, the researchers looked at 51 other tumor samples from benign and cancerous solitary fibrous tumors, looking for the NAB2-STAT6 gene fusion. It showed up in every one of the samples. Results are published online in Nature Genetics.

“Genetic sequencing is extremely important with rare tumors,” says study co-author Scott Schuetze, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School. “Models of rare cancers to study in the laboratory are either not available or very limited. The sequencing helps us to learn more about the disease that we can use to develop better treatments or to help diagnose the cancer in others.”

The NAB2-STAT6 fusion may prove to be a difficult target for therapies, but researchers believe they may be able to attack the growth signaling cycle that leads to this gene fusion.

“Understanding the changes induced in the cell by the NAB2-STAT6 gene fusion will help us to select novel drugs to study in patients with advanced solitary fibrous tumors. Currently this is a disease for which there are no good drug therapies available and patients are in great need of better treatments,” Schuetze says.

No treatments or clinical trials are currently available based on these findings. Additional testing in the lab is needed to assess the best way to target NAB2-STAT6. The gene fusion could also potentially be used to help identify solitary fibrous tumors in cases where diagnosis is challenging.

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

X Chromosome Discovery Could Aid Research on Many Sex-Linked Disorders
U-M researchers find new way for RNA to regulate genetic activity.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
New Device May Shed Light on Why Cancer Cells Metastasize
Scientists from the University of Michigan think they are now a step closer to understanding why some cancer cells metastasize.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Study Finds Potential to Match Tumors with Known Cancer Drugs
Mapping the landscape of kinases could aid in new world of personalized cancer treatment.
Friday, February 08, 2013
Researchers Find Driver of Breast Cancer Stem Cell Metastasis
Researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that a cancer gene linked to aggressive spread of the disease promotes breast cancer stem cells.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Little-Known Bits of RNA Help Master Tumor-Suppressor Gene do its Job, U-M Cancer Researchers Find
Three micro RNA genes appear to be key partners of protective gene p53; their loss is linked to common type of lung cancer.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Scientific News
New Class of RNA Tumor Suppressors Identified
Two short, “housekeeping” RNA molecules block cancer growth by binding to an important cancer-associated protein called KRAS. More than a quarter of all human cancers are missing these RNAs.
Mathematical Model Forecasts the Path of Breast Cancer
Chances of survival depend on which organs breast cancer tumors colonize first.
Exploring the Causes of Cancer
Queen's research to understand the regulation of a cell surface protein involved in cancer.
Nanocarriers May Carry New Hope for Brain Cancer Therapy
Berkeley lab researchers develop nanoparticles that can carry therapeutics across the brain blood barrier.
RNA-Based Drugs Give More Control Over Gene Editing
CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique can be transiently activated and inactivated using RNA-based drugs, giving researchers more precise control in correcting and inactivating genes.
University of Glasgow Researchers Make An Impact in 60 Seconds
Early-career researchers were invited to submit an engaging, dynamic and compelling 60 second video illuminating an aspect of their research.
Metabolic Profiles Distinguish Early Stage Ovarian Cancer with Unprecedented Accuracy
Studying blood serum compounds of different molecular weights has led scientists to a set of biomarkers that may enable development of a highly accurate screening test for early-stage ovarian cancer.
Dead Bacteria to Kill Colorectal Cancer
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have successfully used dead bacteria to kill colorectal cancer cells.
CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing: Check Three Times, Cut Once
Two new studies from UC Berkeley should give scientists who use CRISPR-Cas9 for genome engineering greater confidence that they won’t inadvertently edit the wrong DNA.
Genetically Engineering Algae to Kill Cancer Cells
New interdisciplinary research has revealed the frontline role tiny algae could play in the battle against cancer, through the innovative use of nanotechnology.

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos