Two different genetic mutations cooperate to induce adrenal cancer, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center and University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
The finding provides new clues to this rare and deadly cancer type, and researchers hope it will lead to better treatments by targeting both mutations.
About 600 Americans are diagnosed with adrenal cancer per year. It is typically diagnosed in late stages when there is nearly no chance of survival beyond five years.
''Because adrenal cancer is so rare, it has been challenging to find enough patients who can provide tissue samples for research. Only through collaboration can we do this,'' says senior study author Gary Hammer, MD, PhD, the Millie Schembechler Professor of Adrenal Cancer at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
The partnership between U-M and Sao Paulo has allowed researchers to collect tissue samples from 118 people with benign or cancerous adrenal tumors.
''Our goal is to understand these tumours and the genes that are critical lynchpins so that we can develop treatments that extend patients' lives,'' Hammer says.