Ionizing radiation exposure promotes fusion oncogene formation

October 26, 2013, Journal of Clinical Investigation

The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exposed hundreds of thousands of individuals to high levels of ionizing radiation. In the years immediately following the disaster, there was a sharp increase in the number of papillary thyroid cancers (PTC) in patients that were children at the time of the explosion.

In this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, James Fagin and colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute, examined tissues from Ukrainian PTC patients that were children at the time of the Chernobly catastrophe and identified their cancer-driving mutations.

The authors found that the majority of patient tumors had that resulted in fusion oncogenes. Many of these fusion events promoted upregulation of MAPK signaling, which is a common cancer-associated pathway. In contrast, fusion oncogenes were less common in PCT tumors from patients from the same geographical region, but had not been exposed to radiation.

In the accompanying commentary, Massimo Santoro and Francesca Carlomagno of the University of Naples discuss how this study provides new insight into how ionizing radiation exposure promotes cancer development.

Explore further: Familial component identified in papillary thyroid cancer

More information: Identification of kinase fusion oncogenes in post-Chernobyl radiation-induced thyroid cancers, J Clin Invest. DOI: 10.1172/JCI69766
Oncogenic rearrangements driving ionizing radiation–associated human cancer, J Clin Invest. 2013;123(11):4566–4568. DOI: 10.1172/JCI72725

Related Stories

Familial component identified in papillary thyroid cancer

October 7, 2013
(HealthDay)—First-degree, second-degree, and third-degree relatives of patients diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer (PTC) are at significantly increased risk of developing the disease, according to research published ...

Researchers track lethal prostate cancer to determine clonal origin

October 26, 2013
Prostate cancer has variable manifestations, ranging from relatively benign localized tumors to widespread life-threatening metastases. The origin of most prostate cancer metastases can be traced back to the primary tumor; ...

BRAF addiction of thyroid cancers makes them therapeutically vulnerable

November 21, 2011
Papillary carcinoma is the most common form of thyroid cancer. Approximately one quarter of these carcinomas have mutations in the BRAF gene. The prevalence of such mutations is even greater in high-grade carcinomas, particularly ...

Chernobyl follow-up study finds high survival rate among young thyroid cancer patients

April 24, 2013
More than a quarter of a century after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, many children and teenagers who developed thyroid cancer due to radiation are in complete or near remission, according to a recent study accepted for ...

Drug shown to reverse radioiodine resistance in some advanced thyroid cancers

February 14, 2013
The experimental drug selumetinib may allow some patients with advanced thyroid cancer to overcome resistance to radioiodine (RAI), the most effective therapy for the disease, according to new research from Memorial Sloan-Kettering ...

Recommended for you

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

January 18, 2018
Cancer metastasis, the migration of cells from a primary tumor to form distant tumors in the body, can be triggered by a chronic leakage of DNA within tumor cells, according to a team led by Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial ...

Modular gene enhancer promotes leukemia and regulates effectiveness of chemotherapy

January 18, 2018
Every day, billions of new blood cells are generated in the bone marrow. The gene Myc is known to play an important role in this process, and is also known to play a role in cancer. Scientists from the German Cancer Research ...

These foods may up your odds for colon cancer

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Chowing down on red meat, white bread and sugar-laden drinks might increase your long-term risk of colon cancer, a new study suggests.

The pill lowers ovarian cancer risk, even for smokers

January 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—It's known that use of the birth control pill is tied to lower odds for ovarian cancer, but new research shows the benefit extends to smokers or women who are obese.

Researchers develop swallowable test to detect pre-cancerous Barrett's esophagus

January 17, 2018
Investigators at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center have developed a simple, swallowable test for early detection of Barrett's esophagus that offers promise ...

Scientists zoom in to watch DNA code being read

January 17, 2018
Scientists have unveiled incredible images of how the DNA code is read and interpreted—revealing new detail about one of the fundamental processes of life.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.