Understanding the complexity of cancer is a major goal of the scientific community, and for kidney cancer researchers this goal just got closer. Dr. Chad Creighton, associate professor of medicine, member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center Division of Biostatistics at Baylor College of Medicine and affiliated faculty member of the Human Genome Sequencing Center, led the study that analyzed close to 900 kidney cancers at the molecular level. The team discovered that what have historically been considered three major types of kidney cancer according to their characteristics under the microscope, could be further distinguished into nine major subtypes through molecular analyses. Each subtype was unique in terms of altered molecular pathways and patient survival. This study made use of data from The Cancer Genome Atlas.
Creighton and colleagues’ findings are important because they help pave the way toward more effective personalized medicine. Each kidney cancer has unique characteristics. As a result, different cancers may respond differently to the same treatment. Understanding what makes each kidney cancer unique can provide clues to finding targets for effective therapies. The nine subtypes discovered by Creighton and colleagues were found to have therapeutic implications.