Posted on Jun 02, 2014

What causes melanoma in the eye? 

Fox news reports on the link between gene mutations and melanoma in the eye.

Melanoma is the most common form of eye cancer and people are often questioning how they can possibly prevent it.

Fox explains melanoma in the eye and how the new study was conducted, “Melanoma of the eye – or uveal melanoma – occurs when cancer develops in the parts of the eyes that contain pigment, most notably the iris.  If the cancer is contained to just the eye, the standard treatment includes radiation and removal of the eye, which is usually successful.  However, uveal melanoma often metastasizes and spreads to the liver, and once this occurs, patients typically succumb to the disease within two to eight months after diagnosis. Two genetic mutations – GNAQ and GNA11 – have long been implicated in the development of uveal melanoma, occurring in up to 80 percent of all cases of this form of cancer.”

Researchers further delved into how these mutations actually cause the cancer, “Both of these genes code for what are known as G proteins, which act like molecular switches, regulating the transportation of information from the outside of cells to their cells. Upon further analysis of these genes, Guan and his team revealed that genetic mutations in both GNAQ and GNA11 cause the G proteins to be permanently ‘on,’ letting all forms of signals to pass freely in and out of cells.  This leads to the over-activation of the Yes-associated protein (YAP), a potent oncogene that has the potential to cause cancers.”

Researchers are hopeful because while they might not be able to prevent the mutations they can create drugs that treat the condition better now that they know what is causing it.



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Gerry Oginski
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