May 4, 2009

Kidney tumor study may lead to new therapy

U.S. medical scientists say they've determined two types of kidney tumors previously thought to be different diseases are variations of the same one.

Scientists from the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Mich., and the Cleveland Clinic said their finding will help physicians to more accurately diagnose the disease, and demonstrates the importance of using molecular data to diagnose cancer in general.

The scientists said because adult cystic nephroma and mixed epithelial and stromal tumors produce cancers of differing appearance that include different types of cells, they had been diagnosed as different diseases.

Cancer is often diagnosed by the appearance of the tumor and the types of cells it is made up of, said Dr. Bin Tean of Van Andel Research. But molecular information can allow us to make the determination that two tumors of dissimilar appearance and cell type are, in fact, the same disease. This has important implications for the diagnosis of cancer in general. The more data we have, the more we can understand cancer; the more we understand, the better equipped we are to fight it.

The research was reported in a recent issue of the American Journal of Surgical Pathology.