Random DNA copying 'mistakes' account for most cancer mutations, study finds

Doctors review scans at the Johns Hopkins University Kimmel Cancer Center where researchers suggest heredity accounts for only five percent of cancer cases

Doctors review scans at the Johns Hopkins University Kimmel Cancer Center where researchers suggest heredity accounts for only five percent of cancer cases

"However, many people will still develop cancers due to these random DNA copying errors, and better methods to detect all cancers earlier, while they are still curable, are urgently needed", says Bert Vogelstein, M.D., co-director of the Ludwig Center at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

"These cancers will occur no matter how flawless the environment", said Dr Bert Vogelstein of the oncology department at Johns Hopkins.

Random DNA-replication mistakes account for about 77 per cent of critical mutations in pancreatic cancer, and virtually all of those in childhood cancer, they said.

Separate research has shown that roughly 42 percent of cancers are preventable by, for instance, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, and not being exposed to cancer-causing pollutants. "This observation provided a hint that these random mutations play a large role in cancer, but didn't provide information on how numerous mutations in colon cancer, for example, were due to environmental or hereditary factors rather than random errors made during DNA replication", Vogelstein told The Scientist. "We believe the first step is simply recognizing that these enemies exist and they're already here". These factors can, in fact, cause cancer, but the third cause, random mutations, accounts for two-thirds of the disease. Essentially, cells divide and make mistakes copying DNA. "One day, being able to say "these mutations probably came from DNA replication, and these from an environmental factor" will help us to reconstitute the history of cancer". "The fact that we see a similar correlation in all the world's countries we analyzed, to us says that this result is largely independent of the variations in environments and lifestyle factors observed across the world", Tomasetti told The Scientist.

The new analysis report was published on March 23 in the journal Science.

The new research builds on a 2015 study that highlighted the role of "bad luck" - random DNA errors - in developing cancer.

What causes cancer? High-profile culprits obviously include bum genes inherited from parents and harmful environmental and lifestyle factors, such as smoking or not wearing sunscreen.

That study was later criticised by many in the scientific community who were anxious it would prompt people to take a fatalistic approach to the disease rather than trying to reduce risk by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Because at least three mutations must typically occur, random errors will often combine with mutations caused by eating poorly or being sedentary to push cancer development forward when it otherwise might not have happened.

Michael Porter Jr: Dad Offered by Mizzou, "Makes Sense" to Follow Him
There had been speculation since the day that he was sacked that he would end up at Mizzou, but nothing official had come down. Rumors of Porter Sr. being hired by new Mizzou head coach Cuonzo Martin were confirmed Thursday.

One of the new sticking points is that mutations, while necessary for cancer to develop, aren't the whole story. Occasionally, while copying itself a mistake can occur in the DNA.

Vogelstein explained that a single mutation in a cell is unlikely to cause cancer, but if a person has more mutations, it is more likely that the cells will become cancerous. "We studied the relationship between the number of normal stem cell divisions and the risk of 17 cancer types in 69 countries throughout the world". "As people age", he said, "their cells will divide more and a greater fraction of the mutations will turn out to be random replication factors".

She said that environmental causes of cancer have always been underestimated, and that estimates on their contribution to cancer will increase as more is learned.

A study in Nature in December 2015, nearly a year afterward, countered that most cases of cancer were in fact caused by environmental factors, whether from smoking or exposure to ultraviolet radiation-and not by random mutations.

"It is well-known that we must avoid environmental factors such as smoking to decrease our risk of getting cancer".

For some other cancers, however, environmental factors play a large role, the study found.

Vogelstein says his team's approach to studying cancer mutations is akin to sorting out why typos typing a 20-volume book.

Most cells copy themselves, growing and dividing into two.

Recommended News

  • Celebrating Puppy Love: March 23 is National Puppy Day

    Celebrating Puppy Love: March 23 is National Puppy Day

    Unless you don't use social media, you probably know it's National Puppy Day (because yes, there is a day for everything). While it's trending all over the internet, National Puppy Day is more than just an excuse to post about your pooch.
    Jerry Stackhouse: Raptors-Bulls fight looked like fun

    Jerry Stackhouse: Raptors-Bulls fight looked like fun

    He has turned that workload into a strong 21.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.2 3-pointers per game. Sound off in the comments and tell us what you think of the fight that broke out at the Chicago Bulls vs.
    President sends message of sympathy over Westminster attack

    President sends message of sympathy over Westminster attack

    At least one police officer was killed after having been repeatedly stabbed by the terrorist, who brandished an eight-inch knife. Trump Jr. tweeted with a link to an article dating back to September 2016 from British newspaper the Independent .
  • Man detained in Sacramento quadruple homicide officially arrested

    Man detained in Sacramento quadruple homicide officially arrested

    A person of interest was detained in San Francisco on Thursday, but it was not clear if Vasquez-Oliva is the same suspect. The four victims were discovered Thursday morning after a relative reported that something might be wrong .
    Kohli must improve his behavior says Geoff Lawson

    Kohli must improve his behavior says Geoff Lawson

    He stint with Delhi Daredevils fetched him Emerging Player of the Year award, scoring 439 runs from 14 matches. Clarke said even skipper Steve Smith won't be bothered by what the Australian media is writing.
    Democrats vow to oppose vote on Trump Supreme Court nominee

    Democrats vow to oppose vote on Trump Supreme Court nominee

    But Republicans, who hold a majority in the Senate, could change the rules to end debate with a simple majority of votes, 51. Judge Neil Gorsuch has been asked about his view of the Constitution, legal precedent set forth in Roe v.
  • Area at risk of storms today

    Area at risk of storms today

    Right now, instability and wind energy looks to be sufficient enough to generate at least a few severe storms across the area. This storms could pose a minimal hail risk and could be in the area overnight into the first 1/2 of the day on Saturday .
    State's unemployment rate ticks up to 4.1 percent

    State's unemployment rate ticks up to 4.1 percent

    The New Haven area added 1,700 jobs last month, which was best performance among any of the state's six Labor Market areas. The Georgia Department of Labor on Thursday released the new jobless numbers, which are from February.
    Match Play begins with unlimited possibilities

    Match Play begins with unlimited possibilities

    The good news? It's not single elimination like it was in 2013, and McIlroy still has two more matches to try to win his group. But he lost to Denmark's Soren Kjeldsen, who is the No. 68 player in the world and the lowest seeded golfer in McIlroy's group.
  • Gorsuch testimony concluding amid ironic Supreme Court decision

    Gorsuch testimony concluding amid ironic Supreme Court decision

    And yet Judge Gorsuch believes that students with disabilities are only owed an education that is barely more than the minimum. Gorsuch said his ruling in Thompson was based on 10th Circuit precedent, particularly a 1996 decision , Urban v.
    'No Scrubs' songwriters finally credited on Ed Sheeran's 'Shape of You'

    'No Scrubs' songwriters finally credited on Ed Sheeran's 'Shape of You'

    Take a listen to each song in this gallery, and see if you can guess which artist was later accused of ripping them off. Previously, Sheeran, Steve Mac and Snow Patrol's Johnny McDaid were the only songwriters listed.

    New video released of suspect in fatal midtown stabbing

    He was seen at the hotel 45 minutes before the alleged stabbing. "We're very fortunate that it stopped at one and it wasn't more". Jackson, who previously served in the military, may have had these feelings for up to 10 years, police said, without elaborating.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.