European Cancer Organisation

EJC NEWS: Mutational signatures reveal the causes of cancers

The mutational signature of an individual cancer genome tells the story of its own development, its cause and even how it could have been prevented, according to Mike Stratton, Director of the Sanger Institute (Cambridge, UK). His team has described approximately 40 signatures which they believe will eventually point to the causes of the vast majority of cancers.

The latest results show that the signature caused by tobacco is present in lung cancers but - intriguingly - not in other smoking-related cancers such as bladder cancer. In this EJC News Focus, he explains to Helen Saul the implications of this finding and how geneticists are teaming up with epidemiologists to suggest new approaches in the prevention of cancer.

Reference: Mutational signatures associated with tobacco smoking in human cancer. Stratton M et al, Science 2016. This work was presented at EACR24 (Manchester, UK; June 2016)

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