-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers who identified
a new genetic signature associated with bile duct cancer say their
discovery could lead to targeted treatment for the deadly
The team at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
screened samples from 287 patients with gastrointestinal tumors and
found that growth-enhancing mutations in two genes (IDH1 and IDH2)
may account for nearly one-fourth of bile duct tumors that develop
in the liver.
Mutations in IDH1 were found in 13 percent of all bile duct
tumors and in 23 percent of those within the liver itself.
Mutations in IDH2 were less common.
It may be possible to develop drugs that target this mutation in
order to control tumor growth, they said.
The findings were published online in
Bile duct cancer occurs in a duct that carries bile from the
liver to the small intestine.
"Patients with bile duct cancer have a generally poor prognosis. Most of them are diagnosed with advanced or metastatic disease, so surgical resection [removal] is not feasible," study co-senior author Dr. Andrew Zhu, director of Liver Cancer Research at the MGH Cancer Center, said in a hospital news release.
"Identifying this new and relatively common mutation in intrahepatic [within the liver] bile duct cancer may have significant implications for the diagnosis, prognosis and therapy of patients whose tumors harbor this mutation," Zhu added.
Currently, there are no drugs that target IDH mutations, but
extensive efforts are underway to develop such drugs, the
Each year in the United States, 12,000 people are diagnosed with
cancers of the gallbladder and bile duct, but only 10 percent of
those cancers are discovered early enough for successful surgical
treatment. Average survival, even with chemotherapy, is less than a
The American Cancer Society has more about
bile duct cancer.
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