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Mutation primes colon cells for cancer.

Cancer researchers have found additional evidence that a mutation in a recently discovered gene is the first misstep in the series of genetic stumbles that leads to colorectal cancer.

The researchers, led by Kenneth W. Kinzler of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, examined genetic material taken from the tumors of 16 patients who had benign colorectal polyps and from 25 patients who had various stages of colorectal cancer. Kinzler and his colleagues report in the Sept. 17 NATURE that roughly 60 percent of each group of patients had a mutation in the adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene, known to cause an inherited predisposition to cancer-prone colorectal polyps.

Because of the similar incidence of APC mutation in the two groups, the researchers conclude that this mutation may be the initial event that triggers a normal cell to become cancerous. In contrast, they report, other genes thought to play later roles in the process of cancer development -- such as p53 -- show an elevated mutation level in more advanced cancers.

Last year, Kinzler's group and an independent team of researchers led by Ray White of the University of Utah Health Sciences Center in Salt Lake City simultaneously reported the discovery of the APC gene (SN: 8/10/91, p.86).
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Title Annotation:adenomatous polyposis coli gene research
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 26, 1992
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