MedicalResearch.com Author Interview: Jun J. Yang, Ph.D.
Assistant Member Dept. of Pharm. Sci.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Pl., MS313 Memphis, TN 38105
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Yang: We performed a comprehensive survey of inherited genetic variations for their contribution to the susceptibility of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common cancer in children. This is by far the largest study of its kind (in terms of the number of subjects involved), and also the first one to include multi-ethnic populations. We identified 4 genomic loci related to the predisposition to ALL, 2 of which contributed to racial differences in the incidence of ALL. This study provided unequivocal evidence for inherited susceptibility of childhood ALL and pointed to novel biology of the pathogenesis of this disease.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Yang: The racial differences in ALL susceptibility variants are somewhat surprising. But this was the first GWAS to include non-European populations, so we didn’t quite know what to expect.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Yang: To recognize the contribution of inherited risk of childhood ALL.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Yang: First of all, the role of inherited genetic variation is substantial in cancer pathogenesis and the interactions between germline and tumor genetic variations can be an very exciting new direction for cancer research.
Secondly, future genomic studies should strive to include more non-European subjects, not only to reduce the stark racial disparities but also to gain novel knowledge of cancer etiology in general..
Novel Susceptibility Variants at 10p12.31-12.2 for Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in Ethnically Diverse Populations
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Mar 19. [Epub ahead of print]
Xu H, Yang W, Perez-Andreu V, Devidas M, Fan Y, Cheng C, Pei D, Scheet P, Burchard EG, Eng C, Huntsman S, Torgerson DG, Dean M, Winick NJ, Martin PL, Camitta BM, Bowman WP, Willman CL, Carroll WL, Mullighan CG, Bhojwani D, Hunger SP, Pui CH, Evans WE, Relling MV, Loh ML, Yang JJ.
Affiliations of authors: Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (HX, WY, VP-A, WEE, MVR, JJY), Department of Computational Biology (YF), Department of Biostatistics (CC, DP), Department of Pathology (CGM), and Department of Oncology (DB, C-HP), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, TN; Department of Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (MDev); Department of Epidemiology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX (PS); Department of Bioengineering & Therapeutic Science and Medicine (EGB, CE, SH, DGT) and Department of Pediatrics (MLL), University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; Laboratory of Experimental Immunology, National Cancer Institute, Frederick, MD (MDea); Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, (NJW); Department of Pediatrics, Duke University, Durham, NC (PLM); Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI (BMC); Hematology & Oncology, Cook Children’s Medical Center, Ft. Worth, TX (WPB); University of New Mexico Cancer Center, Albuquerque, NM (CLW); New York University Cancer Institute, New York, NY (WLC); University of Colorado School of Medicine and The Children’s Hospital, Aurora, CO (SPH).