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Predicting secondary cancer risk in childhood cancer survivors

Memphis, Tennessee, June 4, 2020

A scientist looks at the camera.

Corresponding author Zhaoming Wang, Ph.D., of the St. Jude departments of Epidemiology and Cancer Control and Computational Biology.

Childhood cancer survivors can develop other cancers later in life. St. Jude scientists are studying the effect of cancer treatments and inherited mutations in DNA-repair genes. The results may help predict who has a higher risk of another cancer.

The team sequenced DNA from blood samples gathered through the St. Jude LIFE study. This study brings childhood cancer survivors back to the hospital for health screenings throughout their lives.

The team looked at the records of 4,402 childhood cancer survivors. Scientists studied 127 genes from six DNA-repair pathways. The team found 538 mutations passed down through families. These changes were in 98 genes, including POLG, MUTYH, ERCC2 and BRCA2.

“DNA-repair pathways play a role in how the body responds to and remediate DNA damage caused by cancer treatments,” said Zhaoming Wang, Ph.D. Wang works in the St. Jude departments of Epidemiology and Cancer Control and Computational Biology. “Now we better understand how inherited mutations in these pathways combine with the effects of cancer therapy to increase cancer risk.”

The Journal of Clinical Oncology published a report on this work.

Read the full news release. 

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