Researchers have discovered two gene variants that raise the risk of the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma. Using automated technology to perform genome-wide association studies on DNA from thousands of subjects, the study broadens understanding of how gene changes may make a child susceptible to this early childhood cancer, as well as causing a tumor to progress.
“We discovered common variants in the HACE1 and LIN28B genes that increase the risk of developing neuroblastoma. For LIN28B, these variants also appear to contribute to the tumor’s progression once it forms,” said first author Sharon J. Diskin, PhD, a pediatric cancer researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “HACE1 and LIN28B are both known cancer-related genes, but this is the first study to link them to neuroblastoma.”
Diskin and colleagues, including senior author John M. Maris, MD, director of the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Children’s Hospital, published the study online Sept. 2 in Nature Genetics.