A new molecular mechanism may underlie a diverse group of blood cancers called myelodysplastic syndromes, a Nature paper suggests.
Human cells contain two complete sets of chromosomes, one from each parent, but in certain cancers, both copies of particular chromosomes can come from the same parent. Patients with a particular type of bone marrow cancer inherit two copies of part of chromosome 11 from a single parent, Seishi Ogawa and colleagues report. This part of the chromosome contains a mutated version of the gene C-CBL, they show. The C-CBL mutations are oncogenic, causing cultured connective tissue cells to become cancerous. The study suggests that wild-type C-CBL acts as a tumour suppressor gene, but that the gain-of-function mutations identified in this type of cancer turn it into a cancer-causing oncogene.
Seishi Ogawa (University of Tokyo, Japan)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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