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Cancer development often is a result of environmental factors, such as exposure to tobacco products and industrial toxins. Other times, however, cancer is written in the cards, nearly unavoidable, arising almost solely from genetic factors. These are so-called "inheritable cancers," and common types include cancers of the kidney, colon, and breast. Of course, what is inherited is a gene defect from a parent, not the cancer itself. Upwards of 10 percent of cancers may be the result of such inheritable mutations.
For this next lecture in the Demystifying Medicine series, now fortified with CME, we bring you two speakers who are investigating inheritable cancers from a clinical and epidemiological perspective. Marston Linehan, chief of the NCI CCR Urologic Oncology Branch, pioneered the study of the genetic basis of kidney cancer. His team identified the genes for the common forms of kidney cancer and described the pathways of these kidney cancer genes. His recent studies targeting the metabolic basis of kidney cancer have resulted in the regression of metastatic cancer in patients with type 1 and type 2 papillary kidney cancer.
Co-presenter Sharon Savage, DCEG Clinical Director and chief of the Clinical Genetics Branch, has studied the genetic and molecular epidemiology of telomere biology, pediatric cancer etiology, and autosomal-dominant cancer predisposition syndromes, such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome. She and her team are characterizing the clinical consequences of these disorders and are developing cancer screening programs.