Single Gene May Play Major Role in Skin Cancer Tumors

November 1, 2005

London--According to a British study, a single gene may be the main culprit in the development of nearly all basal cell carcinoma tumors.

London--According to a British study, a single gene may be the main culprit in the development of nearly all basal cell carcinoma tumors.

A research team from Barts and the London Queen Mary's School of Medicine here has used gene chip array technology to identify the skin-cancer gene. The technology allows scientists to look at thousands of genes simultaneously and helps them pinpoint the role played by individual genes.

In this study, researchers identified the key role played by the "patched" gene, mutations in which were found in 70 percent of basal cell carcinoma tumors they studied.

British medical observers say the research suggests that a single gene plays a crucial role in nearly all cases of basal cell carcinoma, and that studying how mutations in patched genes play a role in causing this form of cancer may provide insights into how other cancers develop.