XRCC2 Gene May Contribute to Testicular Cancer Treatment Resistance

February 5, 2015
Michelle Bragazzi, Managing Editor, OncoTherapy Network
Michelle Bragazzi, Managing Editor, OncoTherapy Network

Scientists from The Institute of Cancer Research in London identified a gene which may contribute to testicular cancer treatment resistance.

Scientists from The Institute of Cancer Research in London identified a gene which may contribute to testicular cancer treatment resistance.

Focusing specifically on testicular germ cell tumors-which is the most common testicular cancer among young men-researchers used a genetic technique known as whole-exome sequencing to examine tumor samples from 42 men.

The study is published  in the January 22, 2015 issue of Nature Communications.

Researchers discovered new chromosome duplications along with other abnormalities that may contribute to the development of testicular cancer. In the process, they also found defective copies of a DNA repair gene called XRCC2 in a patient who had become resistant to platinum-based chemotherapy. Researchers verified a link between XRCC2 and platinum resistance by sequencing another sample from a platinum-resistant tumor.

While testicular cancer has a high cure rate, approximately 3% of patients develop resistance to treatment, which in turn leads to poor survival.

"Survival rates for testicular cancer are generally very good, but a subset of men don't respond to standard platinum chemotherapy, and the new research has identified a possible genetic cause for that drug resistance. Knowing which are the key genes driving a cancer's development or helping it dodge the effects of chemotherapy is crucial to help us use existing drugs more effectively and to design the next generation of drugs for personalized medicine," said Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research in London.

According to Dr. Clare Turnbull, Team Leader in Predisposition and Translational Genetics at The Institute of Cancer Research in London, further studies are needed with larger groups of patients so that new treatment options are available-especially those men with platinum-resistant testicular tumors.

Dr. Turnbull and her colleagues were able to conduct this study thanks to the funds raised via the Movember Foundation-a global organization focused on increasing awareness for men's health.

 

 

 

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