Research Highlight

Tumour suppressor genes linked to brain, blood disorders

doi:10.1038/nindia.2019.54 Published online 29 April 2019

Tumour suppressor genes (TSGs) are known to inhibit the growth of tumour cells. Mutations in TSGs trigger tumour growth, resulting in various cancers.

New research shows that mutations in TSGs are also associated with neurological, developmental, immunological, haematological, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases1. Such associations between TSGs and other diseases could potentially be used to track down the early cellular changes that lead to cancer.

Besides stifling tumour growth, many TSGs regulate various cellular functions such as maintenance of cellular architecture, immunity, metabolism, differentiation and development. Such a broad range of cellular functions reveals that mutations in TSGs may also cause several other human disorders.

To better understand the association of TSGs with various diseases other than cancer, Asim Bikas Das, a scientist from the National Institute of Technology, in Telangana in India, created a detailed association map of various human disorders and TSGs.  

The researcher identified 122 TSGs that are associated with 22 types of disorders. Of these, the disorders that are highly associated with TSGs belong to neurological, developmental and haematological classes.

The mutated TSGs that cause cancers were found to be associated with neurological, endocrine, cardiovascular, blood and immunological disorders. The study shows that neurological and other disorders could increase the risks of cancers in the human body. In addition, it provides links between various diseases and the activity of similar genes.

In the near future, a complete disease association map of TSGs could facilitate better diagnosis and treatment of cancer, says Das.


1. Das, A. B. Disease association of human tumor suppressor genes. Mol. Genet. Genom. (2019) doi:10.1007/s00438-019-01557-9