Identical driver gene mutations found in metastatic cancers
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Driver genes in different metastases from the same patient are remarkably similar, providing optimism for the success of future targeted therapies, according to a published study by Science.

The report, “Minimal Functional Driver Gene Heterogeneity Among Untreated Metastases,” looked at data from samples that have spread from the site of origin to another part of the body in 20 patients with breast, colorectal, endometrial, gastric, lung melanoma, pancreatic or prostate cancers. The researchers found within individual patients, driver gene mutations were common to all metastatic deposits.

Bert Vogelstein, M.D., and Kenneth Kinzler, Ph.D., co-directors of the Ludwig Center at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, and Rachel Karchin, Ph.D., from the Johns Hopkins Institute for Computational Medicine, were involved in this study.

Vogelstein noted that though there are thousands of mutations in every tumor, the only ones that matter are driver genes.

“If the driver gene mutations in different metastatic lesions from the same patient were heterogeneous, there would be little hope for new targeted therapies to induce clinically important remissions or cures,” Vogelstein said.

“Such therapies would shrink only a subset of the metastatic lesions, and the rest would continue to grow unabated. Fortunately, this does not appear

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