'Killer' kidney cancers identified by studying their evolution
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VIDEO: Scientists have discovered that kidney cancer follows distinct evolutionary paths, enabling them to detect whether a tumour will be aggressive and revealing that the first seeds of kidney cancer are… view more 

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Scientists have discovered that kidney cancer follows distinct evolutionary paths, enabling them to detect whether a tumour will be aggressive and revealing that the first seeds of kidney cancer are sown as early as childhood.

The three Cancer Research UK funded studies, published in the journal Cell, shed light on the fundamental principles of cancer evolution and could lead to future clinical tests to give patients more accurate prognoses and personalised treatment.

In the first two papers, the TRACERx Renal* team, based at the Francis Crick Institute, UCL, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, analysed over 1,000 tumour samples from 100 kidney cancer patients in order to reconstruct the sequence of genetic events that led to the cancer in each patient.

The analysis reveals that there are three evolutionarily distinct types of kidney cancer. The first type follows a slow evolutionary path, never acquiring the ability to become aggressive.

The second type, by contrast, forms the most aggressive tumours,

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