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Bladder cancer gene identified

British researchers said  they had identified a gene linked to bladder cancer that could improve the treatment of the disease.
/ Source: Reuters

British researchers said on Thursday they had identified a gene linked to bladder cancer that could improve the treatment of the disease.

“This is a very exciting development. E2F3 is the missing link in our knowledge of the disease,” said Professor Colin Cooper of Britain’s Institute of Cancer Research.

The E2F3 gene is involved in controlling the division of human cells. Cooper and his colleagues found that multiple copies of E2F3 were associated with a proliferation of cells and the development of bladder cancer.

When they measured the amount of E2F3 protein in bladder cancer cells in laboratory tests they discovered it corresponded to the grade or seriousness of the tumor.

More effective treatments
Grade 1 bladder cancer cells, which are less dangerous, had smaller amounts of the protein, while cells of a higher grade and more aggressive cancer had increased levels.

“These findings will boost the development of new treatments to target bladder cancer as well as predicting the aggressiveness of a particular cancer leading to tailor-made, more effective treatments for each individual patient,” Cooper, who reported the findings in the journal Oncogene, said in a statement.

Bladder cancer is the ninth most common cancer worldwide. The disease kills about 130,000 people worldwide each year and 330,000 new cases are reported annually.

Smoking is the single most important cause of bladder cancer, accounting for 65 percent of male cases and 30 percent of female cases, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.