Honolulu, Hawaii - Cancer researchers at the University of Hawaii recently published an article in the Journal of Translational Medicine, profiling their discovery of a visual marker that may help identify individuals who have a particular gene mutation that places them at higher risk for developing both skin cancer and the asbestos-caused cancer known as mesothelioma.
According to an article in the Star-Advertiser, the researchers have determined that those at risk for the two cancers may have certain mole-like tumors. They were described as “noncancerous, flat or slightly elevated, and pigmented skin lesions that have the BAP1 gene defect.”
Presence of the BAP1 gene defect means that those individuals with the mutation should go to great lengths to avoid exposure to certain environmental hazards, the study proclaims, including ultraviolet radiation (for melanoma) and asbestos as well as asbestos-like erionite for mesothelioma.
“Identifying this gene as a cause of several cancers can tell us who is at risk in a family before the cancer develops,” said study author Dr. Michele Carbone, director of the University of Hawaii Cancer Center and professor of pathology at John A. Burns School of Medicine. “We can advise patients to undergo routine exams and genetic testing for early diagnoses and treatment."
Carbone is already considered one of the top mesothelioma doctors in the country. Along with his colleagues, he has already developed a patented gene test that corresponds with this new finding. It is currently only available at The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.