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Genetic testing may reveal cause of brain tumor

Category: DNA, Paternity and Genetic testing

Clinical testing by a team of American researchers suggests that the onset of glioblastoma, the deadliest form of brain tumor, is driven by the expression of two genes working in tandem.

According to a study reported in the December 23 online edition of the journal Nature, two newly identified genes, C/EPB and Stat3, are found together in about 60 percent of patients with the disease and typically yield an especially bad prognosis, HealthDay news reports.

On their own, the two genes were found to cause little damage but inflicted serious harm on patients when expressed together.

"These researchers have identified two transcription factors that appear to be causative. They're not just markers. They appear to actually cause the tumor," said Dr Todd Waldman, a professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, DC.

He added, "For brain tumors, it's very exciting because it helps to explain why they are so devastatingly infiltrative."

The researchers found that all patients in the study who had expressed both C/EPB and Stat3 had died after one year, compared to only half of those who had different types of tumors.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the five-year survival rate for those diagnosed with glioblastoma is less than 3 percent.

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