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Focus on the Stomach

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In a new study published online at Nature Genetics, researchers from Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore and the National Cancer Center Singapore report hundreds of novel genetic mutations involved in gastric cancer, the school says in a press release. Until now, says senior author Patrick Tan, the genetic causes of stomach cancer were largely unknown, and, as a result, treatment outcome is poor and less than 25 percent of patients survive more than five years after diagnosis. By sequencing 18,000 genes in both tumor and normal tissue from stomach cancer patients, the team was able to identify 600 genes containing mutations. "Two of the 600 stomach cancer-associated genes identified, FAT4 and ARID1A, proved to be particularly interesting. A further analysis of about 100 stomach tumors found these genes to be mutated in 5 percent and 8 percent of stomach cancers, respectively," the press release says. "In some patients, portions of the chromosome containing the two genes were found to be missing, further evidence that genetic defects affecting these genes occur frequently in stomach cancer." In further experiments, the team found that manipulation of these two genes altered the growth of the cancer cells. The researchers hope their work will lead to more personalized treatments for patients with stomach tumors, the press release adds.

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