For the first time, Tata Memorial Centre researchers found a link between a common genetic variation and the risk of having gallbladder cancer. The study, published in the latest edition of Lancet Oncology’s is a landmark finding, as it will now form the base of gallbladder cancer related researches worldwide.
According to the research, it was found that a genetic region which includes the ABCB4 and ABCB1 genesis is associated with increased risk of gallbladder cancer. These findings were the result of a first-ever large genome-wide association study of gallbladder cancer, conducted jointly by the Centre for Cancer Epidemiology at Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai and the US National Cancer Institute.
While the global prevalence of this cancer varies widely, it is found that certain geographic regions in India which included the north, north-east and along the Gangetic belt had high incidences of it and therefore were prime locations for such a study. “It is first evidence in terms where gallbladder cancer is concerned. It gives some answers to the questions on what causes gallbladder cancer. This could be a drug target and further studies can get a cue from this,” said Dr Rajesh Dikshit, centre for cancer epidemiology, TMC.
The researchers said future studies are needed to explore the complexity and mechanics of these relationships and to identify more risk associated with single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs).
“Investigations of genetic factors have been limited. This study is the first large scale effort to identify common SNPs. We found associations between higher gallbladder cancer risk and several SNPs in the gene region harbouring the ABCB4 and ABCB1 genes which are responsible for making proteins that help move a certain class of lipids from the lower to the gallbladder, suggesting a possible role for disruption of transport protein function in gall bladder cancer etiology,” said Dikshit.