Research gives new hope to those with rare vascular cancer

A specific genetic alteration has been discovered as a defining feature of epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EHE), a rare but devastating vascular cancer. These findings have also been used to develop a new diagnostic test for this blood vessel disease.

An international research effort led by Brian Rubin, M.D., Ph.D., of Cleveland Clinic's Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Institute and Lerner Research Institute, devised an innovative approach to reveal the thought to cause EHE, which is considered uncommon: it comprises less than one percent of all cancers. There are approximately 100 new cases in the U.S. each year.

The genetic aberration was detected in 89 percent (42 of 47) of EHE tumor tissues examined; none of the non-EHE vascular tumors contained the anomaly. The research, published in the Aug. 31, 2011, issue of Science Translational Medicine, was done in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Institute.

The authors defined the genetic aberration as a "translocation" between chromosomes 1 and 3, where chromosomes 1 and 3 exchange in such a way that the DNA is "transposed" onto opposite chromosomes. The result is that the swapped DNA encodes a unique, fused gene that contains components from each chromosome. Since genes are translated into proteins, the result of this unique gene is a correspondingly unique protein, whose function is deduced to be oncogenic (cancer-causing).

"This finding is the beginning of a new era for patients with EHE," said Dr. Rubin. "We firmly believe that the characterization of this genetic translocation will lead to a cure for EHE patients."

Identification of translocations in cancers is critical to understanding the at work within . Understanding these molecular pathways allows cancer researchers to target them with specific drugs to disrupt the cancer. Thus, finding this translocation in EHE is a gateway to curing this cancer; using the techniques reported here may likewise provide breakthroughs for other cancers as well.

Provided by Lerner Research Institute

not rated yet

Related Stories

Recommended for you

The fine line between breast cancer and normal tissues

1 hour ago

Up to 40 percent of patients undergoing breast cancer surgery require additional operations because surgeons may fail to remove all the cancerous tissue in the initial operation. However, researchers at Brigham ...

Pancreatic cancer risk not higher with diabetes Rx DPP-4i

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—There is no increased short-term pancreatic cancer risk with dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP-4i) compared to sulfonylureas (SU) and thiazolidinediones (TZD) for glycemic control, according ...

Good bowel cleansing is key for high-quality colonoscopy

5 hours ago

The success of a colonoscopy is closely linked to good bowel preparation, with poor bowel prep often resulting in missed precancerous lesions, according to new consensus guidelines released by the U.S. Multi-Society Task ...

New rules for anticancer vaccines

6 hours ago

Scientists have found a way to find the proverbial needle in the cancer antigen haystack, according to a report published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

User comments