Scientists have identified the earliest genetic changes that can lead to kidney cancer. The first genetic change occurs in childhood or adolescence, and cancer can begin to progress a few decades later.
The results presented in the publication of Cell, provide an opportunity to develop approaches to early detection and intervention in renal cancer, especially in high-risk groups, such as in groups with hereditary risk for the disease.
In 2014, 12,500 new cases of kidney cancer were registered in the UK. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. To learn how to start a cancer, the researchers examined the genomes of tumors of the kidney and restored early genetic changes. They sequenced and analyzed genomes of 95 kidney tumor 33 patients. The team found the first significant genetic changes, or mutations, in their early teens.
Scientists have discovered that the genetic changes initially affect only a few hundred cells, and it is likely that most have some potentially harmful cells. However, kidney cancer occurs in one to two percent of the population. Cells remain dormant for four or five decades and do not progress to cancer if further mutation does not occur. Risk factors include smoking, obesity and hereditary risk of developing kidney cancer.
"Now we can say what the first genetic changes occur in renal cancer, and when they occur. The data that the first changes begin in childhood or adolescence, offer opportunities for early intervention, "- says Dr Peter Campbell, one of the authors. The researchers also found that more than 90 percent of patients with kidney cancer first mutation is a loss of chromosome 3p.
"We found that genetic alteration that triggers kidney cancer in most people is the loss of chromosome 3p. Approximately 35-40% of patients at the same time lose the chromosome 5q, which leads to the destruction and rearrangement of chromosomes, causing multiple mutations, "- said Dr. Thomas Mitchell, the first author of the study.
"Understanding how cancer develops over time, will bring together information that will point the way to new treatment approaches and forecasting results. We hope that in the future this work will help to adapt the surgical and medical intervention at the right time, "- said Professor Charles Swanton of the Francis Crick Institute.