DNA changes identified include several previously associated with autoimmune disease – ScienceDaily
People who inherit genetic changes that alter how their immune systems work are at increased risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma, according to a major new study.
Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London have identified six new genetic changes that increase the risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma, one of the most common cancers in young adults.
Many of the DNA changes appeared to affect immune system function, and three had previously been linked to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus.
The researchers pointed out that the link did not mean that people with autoimmune diseases were at increased risk for lymphoma, but offered important genetic clues to better understand both lymphoma and autoimmune diseases.
One of the genetic changes discovered increases the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma by more than a third and others by at least 15 percent each – information that could point to new drugs being targeted for the disease.
The study was published in Nature Communication and has been funded by a wide range of organizations including Bloodwise, Cancer Research UK and the Lymphoma Research Trust.
Scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) analyzed genetic data from 5,314 Hodgkin lymphoma cases and 16,749 controls, from four different European studies.
The study is the largest of its kind for Hodgkin lymphoma. For most people, Hodgkin lymphoma can be treated successfully with first-line therapy, but there is a need for new treatments for those for whom first-line treatment has failed.
The researchers identified six new single-letter changes in DNA that were linked to the development of Hodgkin lymphoma – and five of them affect the way a type of white blood cell, called B cells, develops.
Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the B cells, which are responsible for the production of antibodies as an essential component of the immune system.
The study also found clear differences in the genetic risk between two different subtypes of Hodgkin lymphoma – lump sclerosis, Hodgkin lymphoma (NSHL) and mixed cellularity Hodgkin lymphoma (MCHL).
For example, a single letter change in DNA near the LPP gene increased the risk of NSHL by 37%, but had little effect on the risk of developing MCHL.
Professor Richard Houlston, professor of molecular and population genetics at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said:
“Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of immune cells called B cells, and our study links the risk of the disease to changes in genes that control the development of B cells.
âInterestingly, we have found that some of the genetic changes we have linked to Hodgkin lymphoma have previously been linked to the risk of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
âThis doesn’t mean that if you develop an autoimmune disease you are at an increased risk for lymphoma, but it does offer some fascinating genetic clues about these diseases. The new information could point to new ways to diagnose, treat, or even d ‘help prevent Hodgkin lymphoma. “
Professor Paul Workman, Managing Director of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said: âUnderstanding the genetic changes that underlie cancer development is crucial to all aspects of our quest to beat cancer – to understand which patients are most at risk for different types of cancer, to improve diagnosis, and to develop treatments that are most likely to work for individual patients.
“This important new study sheds light on DNA changes that may contribute to a person’s risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma and offers clues as to how they might increase that risk, including the interesting link to the system These findings could lead to new ways of managing the disease.
Dr Alasdair Rankin, Director of Research at Bloodwise, said: âThanks to research, the treatments for many people with Hodgkin lymphoma are now good, and about 80 percent of all those affected survive long. term. While this is good news, treatments can have long-term health effects, such as infertility and secondary cancers, so it’s important to find milder treatments for Hodgkin lymphoma. We welcome this study, which sheds new light on how Hodgkin lymphoma develops. “