Research highlight

Genetic risk factors for childhood leukemia

Nature Genetics

August 17, 2009

Common genetic variants associated with pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have been identified in two new reports published online in this week's Nature Genetics.

ALL is a cancer of the white blood cells that is deadly if untreated. Though both adults and children can be afflicted by this type of cancer, there are more cases of ALL in children than in adults.

Mary Relling and colleagues analyzed the genomes of about 400 children with ALL and identified common variants in the genes ARIDB5 and IKZF1 that are associated with ALL. Richard Houlston and colleagues looked at an independent cohort of nearly 1000 children with ALL and also found the associations between ARIDB5 and IKZF1 and ALL.

These genes encode proteins that are involved in the development of B cells, which are the type of white blood cells most commonly affected in ALL.

doi: 10.1038/ng.432

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