Kidney Cancer Recurrence Can Be Gauged By DNA Mutations

One of the international studies on kidney cancer recurrence has found that physicians can forecast the likelihood of a disease returning by way of examining DNA mutations in the patients’ tumours.

The study was undertaken by a team of 44 scientists across 23 institutions from Canada as well as Europe. This is one of the largest studies pertaining to the genetic changes that may result in a kidney cancer recurrence. More than 400,000 people happen to be diagnosed with kidney cancer every year across the world, including 13,000 in the UK alone. The researchers are of the opinion that their findings will contribute to coming up with more personalised approaches as far as the treatment of kidney cancer is concerned.

It is well to be noted that the development in the treatment of kidney cancer arena has fallen behind as compared to other kinds of cancer, as people largely continue to adopt a “one size fits all” approach, as per Dr. Naveen Vasudev, a co-lead investigator from the Leeds Institute of Medical Research.

Precisely gauging the recurrence risk is very crucial. Besides this, identifying how often do the patients need to be checked by the doctors, aids in deciding who all to treat with immunotherapy. Apparently, this treatment has recently been shown to decrease the chances of cancer recurring; however, it can lead to certain side effects. That said, the current challenge is that some patients might be overtreated; hence, being able to accurately point out patients who happen to be at a low risk of recurrence is pivotal since, because of that, they could be spared from that extra treatment.

The researchers have gone to analyse the changes in the DNA of more than 900 kidney cancer patients prior to creating subgroups that are based on 12 specific gene mutations in the DNA of each patient. The team also went on to examine if the cancer had recurred in these patients. It was found that 91% of patients in one of the mutation groups remained cancer-free up until five years after surgery, which meant that they could avoid treatment that was not required for them. The percentage of patients in another mutation group who happened to remain disease-free for five years was pretty much lower at 51%. These patients were required to undergo aggressive surgery.

Doctors as of now assess the kidney cancer recurrence risk by studying features such as tumour size and how aggressively does it look like in a microscope. It is well to be noted that almost 30% of the localised kidney cancers come back post-surgery, which itself means that more accurate measures to gauge the risk are required so that those patients who do not need further treatment can be identified. The study has gone on to show that genetics can be taken into account so as to better forecast the kidney cancer comeback. Significantly, DNA sequencing is already available via the NHS for numerous other types of cancer.

The fact is that genomics, which happens to be the study of genes and how they react to each other, is a significant area of development when it comes to patient care in the NHS. It is demonstrated as to how the genomics might be applied to those with kidney cancer, thereby creating more customised treatment options for many patients across the year, as per Dr. Vasudev.

As per Dr. Yasser Riazalhosseini, McGill University’s assistant professor in Human Genetics, their research shows it might be possible to enhance the way one determines the risk across each patient by looking at genetic mutations in their cancer. DNA sequencing is already used to aid patients with cancers of various other forms, and the same could readily be applied in the case of kidney cancer patients as well.