What’s not behind a rare lymphoma
While most cancers are caused by mutations in single nucleotides of DNA, like changing some letters in a sentence, cutaneous T cell lymphoma is often driven by large deletions of whole genes, like removing whole pages from a book. A better understanding of how these deletions cause the rare lymphoma, which affects skin cells and causes rashes, could lead to better treatments.
To gain insight, Yale researchers studied blood samples from 40 patients with cutaneous T cell lymphoma. Comparing DNA sequences in cancerous cells with those in healthy cells revealed that the large deletions affected 17 different genes. Many of the genes, the team reported July 20 in Nature Genetics, control similar molecular pathways, suggesting that the misregulation of these pathways may be key to causing the lymphoma and suggesting that drugs targeting these pathways could help treat it.
“This cancer has a very distinctive biology,” said Jaehyuk Choi, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of dermatology and lead author of the study.