Gallbladder cancer: Research by Tata Memorial Hospital says gene mutation responsible for more cases in India

By: | Published: March 7, 2017 10:29 AM

Interestingly, Tata Memorial Hospital released a series of papers on gall bladder cancer suggesting that there are more number of cases reported in North and Northeast India along the Ganga and Brahmaputra belt.

Tata Memorial Hospital, Gall bladder cancer, Ganga, Brahamaputra, found mutation in two genes responsible for high incidence of cancer, ICMRTata Memorial Hospital released a series of papers on gall bladder cancer suggesting that there are more number of cases reported in North and Northeast India. (Source: Reuters)

After a lot of studies suggested that India and Chile are two regions globally with higher incidences of gallbladder cancer, researchers in the country were left with no other option but find the cause behind it. Interestingly, Tata Memorial Hospital released a series of papers on gall bladder cancer suggesting that there are more number of cases reported in North and Northeast India along the Ganga and Brahmaputra belt. These papers were published in Lancet Oncology on Monday and indicate a mutation in two genes are responsible for ball gall bladder cancer.

“Gallbladder cancer has high variability in India. It is common in some regions and absents in others. ICMR will do further research,” said ICMR director Dr Saumya Swaminathan. In this study, about 1400 patients were diagnosed by Parel-based hospital along with the United States National Cancer Institute. Over 7 lakh single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were studied in patients to find out the real cause.

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SNPs are responsible for making genes in the body and the research found mutation in ABCB4 and ABCB1 genes in most patients which experts believe could be a reason for gall bladder cancer. “ABCB4 and ABCB1 genes are responsible for transport mechanisms from the liver to the gallbladder. Mutation in ABCB4 and ABCB1 gene can affect bile formation and increase salt in body. This can cause cancer,” said the author of the study, Professor Rajesh Dikshit.

Principal author Dr Sharayu Mhatre believes that future studies on the topic will throw more light on the issue. He said, “Our future research will throw more light on whether a cluster of factors, including genetic mutation, are responsible for gall bladder cancer. This cancer is being passed on for generations in that belt.” The Tata Memorial Hospital will be carrying forward its research along with Banaras Hindu University and the Dr B Borooah Cancer Institute in Guwahati. The focus of this study will be to find if gall bladder cancer is caused by heavy metals found in the Ganga and the Brahmaputra, if local tobacco and mustard oil consumption may be responsible, and whether specific bacteria found in the two rivers could lead to increased cancer risk.

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