Researchers have identified the first inherited gene mutation that increases an individual's risk for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (Raval A et al. Cell. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.03.043 [published online ahead of print June 1, 2007]). While the heritability of this cancer is relatively high, no predisposing mutation had been convincingly identified until now.
In work led by scientists at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, in Columbus, investigators found that loss or reduced expression of a gene that encodes a protein called death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1) underlies cases of heritable predisposition to chronic lymphocytic leukemia and the majority of sporadic chronic lymphocytic leukemia cases. DAPK is involved in apoptosis, the process by which the body eliminates abnormal or unneeded cells.
Hampton T. Leukemia Mutation. JAMA. 2007;298(1):32. doi:10.1001/jama.298.1.32-d