Genetic features shared across cancer types

Significant genetic features are shared across several cancer types according to research published in Nature.

Research found genetic similarities in cancer cell DNA (Photograph: SPL)
Research found genetic similarities in cancer cell DNA (Photograph: SPL)

Cancer cell DNA frequently includes regions that have been copied one or more times. The number of copies of a single gene in the genome (the 'copy number') is altered, driving the development of cancer. 

Matthew Meyerson and colleagues from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston found that most of the significant copy-number alterations within any single cancer type are also present in other cancer types.

The findings suggest that the diversity thought to be present in cancer genomes may reflect a combination of a limited number of functionally relevant events, the researchers said.

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