Washington, Nov 24 : Scientists have identified three genes linked to the body's processing of fats that may increase the risk of kidney cancer.
During the study, the researchers found that variations within three genes linked to lipid peroxidation - the process of breaking down fats and lipids when exposed to oxygen - could increase a person's risk of kidney cancer.
Scientists have suspected lipid peroxidation as a unifying mechanism through which risk factors such as obesity, hypertension and smoking could damage kidney tissue and lead to kidney cancer.
"Obesity, hypertension and smoking have been the only established risk factors for kidney cancer, but they account for only 50 percent of cases," Science Daily quoted lead author Lee E. Moore, Ph.D., M.P.H., an epidemiologist and investigator at the National Cancer Institute, as saying.
"Our study suggests that common genetic variation may account for some of the increased risk in the other half of cases. This is the first and largest study of renal cell cancer to evaluate the influence of these genes," Moore added.
For the study, the researchers examined blood DNA from 987 kidney cancer patients and 1,298 healthy counterparts living in Central and Eastern Europe, which have the highest rates of kidney cancer worldwide.
The team analyzed DNA for hundreds of variations within 38 genes known to play a role in lipid peroxidation, inflammation and oxidative stress.
The researchers found that variants of two genes were associated with increased risk of kidney cancer: nitric oxide synthase 2A (NOS2A), which increases levels of nitric oxide, a chemical that promotes free radical damage to cells; and prostaglandin-endoperoxide 2 (PTGS2), which produces prostaglandins, compounds that cause inflammation.
They also found that variants of a third gene, apolipoprotein E1 (ApoE1), which helps break down and remove triglycerides from the blood and liver, were associated with a reduction in risk for the disease.
The findings were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.