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Kidney cancer: New DNA test can measure whether tumor might be fatal

| | April 20, 2018

Hundreds of people with kidney cancer could be spared surgery with a DNA test that can identify whether tumours are likely to be highly aggressive or relatively harmless, scientists say.

While some kinds of kidney cancer grow and metastasise around the body with lethal speed, others do not appear to pose much of a threat. At present it is extremely difficult for doctors to tell the difference between the two. Researchers in London, however, have identified the genetic signatures that show what path each tumour is likely to follow.

The problem is that tumours are like small societies made up of numerous genetically different cell types. By conducting a population census of the cancer, researchers can predict whether it will remain stable or whether a particularly aggressive type of cell will take over.

The breakthrough is especially promising for the 4,000 or so patients a year who are found to have thumb-sized tumours called small renal masses. Tim O’Brien, a senior surgeon on the team, estimates that in up to half of these cases there is no need to cut out the lump.

“We are learning from the history of these tumours to be better able to predict the future. This is profoundly important, because it means we can hopefully predict the pattern the cancer will take for each individual patient,” [said researcher Harpal Kumar].

Read full, original post: DNA test to predict fatal kidney cancer

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