January 11, 2016 – Kids Cancers and Mutations


Anchor lead: How many cancers in kids are in their genes at birth? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Germ line mutations are DNA changes that came from one or both parents.  A study recently reported in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the role such mutations play in childhood cancers.  William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, explains the findings.

Nelson: 8.5% had mutations or defects in genes in their germ line, versus only about 1.1% or 0.6% in the other cohorts.  The thing that was also kind of quirky and concerning is if you looked at those 95 patients, what was their family history of cancer?  Only 40% had any family history of cancer and only half of them had a family history of those cancers you thought they should have gotten based on that mutation. So suggests that genome sequencing might be of help in this environment but only presumably to 8-10% of the kids.   :35

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.