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Aurora magazine

Does cancer also have to be tested against RNA?

Genetic tests to predict cancer risk and to develop ad hoc treatments are increasing. According to one study, however, the future lies in the double screening of DNA and RNA. This would make it possible to obtain more reliable and precise data, which can also be used to assess the presence or absence of a genetic predisposition.

The risk of getting sick depends on a large number of factors related to genetics, environment and lifestyle. The lifestyle is surely the one on which it is easier to intervene, but also the genetics has a great weight. Certain variants predispose the body to the appearance of tumors. By identifying them, it is easier to intervene on the other factors and identify a possible tumor in the very early stages.

Standard tests focus on mutations in DNA. However, a new approach is taking off, which also takes into account mutations at the RNA level. This allows to multiply the eventual tests of a genetic predisposition, reducing the cases of false negatives.

The first data on the subject were presented at the National Society of Genetic Counselors Annual Conference in Salt Lake City. The researchers tested the methodology on 2,500 patients. The test identified about 6.9% more mutations, 19% for specific genes such as BRCAs. This means more precise results, although more difficult to read.