Moreover, the study shows that many key cancer genes still remain to be discovered. The Broad Institute-led research team’s work, which lays a critical foundation for future cancer drug development, also shows that creating a comprehensive catalog of cancer genes for scores of cancer types is feasible with as few as 100,000 patient samples.
Broad Institute founding director Eric Lander, senior co-author, said that the knowledge of genes and their pathways will highlight new, potential drug targets and help lead the way to effective combination therapy.
Over the past 30 years, scientists had found evidence for about 135 genes that play causal roles in one or more of the 21 tumor types analyzed in the study. The new report not only confirms these genes, but, in one fell swoop, increases the catalog of cancer genes by one-quarter.
It uncovers 33 genes with biological roles in cell death, cell growth, genome stability, immune evasion, as well as other processes.
The result has been published in the journal Nature.