Childhood Survivors May be Predisposed to Cancer Later in Life

Mutations in cancer-associated genes may increase their risk of children developing cancer later in life
Mutations in cancer-associated genes may increase their risk of children developing cancer later in life

HealthDay News — Many survivors of childhood cancer have mutations in cancer-associated genes, possibly increasing their risk for cancers later in life, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from April 1 to 5 in Washington, D.C.

The new study included 3,007 patients who survived childhood cancer for 5 years or more. Twelve percent had changes in one of 156 genes linked to increased risk of cancer, the researchers found.

By age 45, more than one-quarter of the patients (25.5%) had developed another cancer, most commonly meningioma, thyroid cancer, breast cancer, and non-melanoma skin cancer, according to the investigators. 

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"Our findings have immediate implications for the growing population of long-term survivors of childhood cancer. We are recommending that survivors of childhood cancer who develop specific types of subsequent neoplasms receive genetic counseling," co-senior author Les Robison, PhD, chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Cancer Control at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research. "In addition, we believe that these findings will contribute to future decisions relating to recommendations for personalized therapeutic approaches based on genetic profiles for children who are newly diagnosed with cancer."

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