Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Common Cancers Have Rare Cancer Subsets

In June, 2014, my book, entitled Rare Diseases and Orphan Drugs: Keys to Understanding and Treating the Common Diseases was published by Elsevier. The book builds the argument that our best chance of curing the common diseases will come from studying and curing the rare diseases.

One of the key ideas developed in the book is that each common diseases is actually an aggregate of cellular processes that are present, individually, in rare diseases. In the case of the common cancers, we can find specific rare diseases that are subsets of the common diseases.

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 8:

8.3.3 Inherited syndromes that cause rare cancers are often associated with increased risk for developing common cancers; hence, the causes of rare cancers are related to the causes of common cancers. Many of the greatest advances in our understanding of common cancers have come through the study of rare familial cancer syndromes in which common types of cancer occur. Here are a few common cancers and the familial syndromes that account for a small percentage of cases.

Colon tumors (benign and malignant)
- Colorectal cancer hereditary non-polyposis
- Polyposis syndrome, mixed hereditary
- Turcot syndrome (central nervous system cancer and familial polyposis of the colon)
- Mismatch repair gene pmsl1 colorectal cancer hereditary, non-polyposis type 3 included
- Checkpoint kinase 2 S. pombe homologue of breast and colorectal cancer susceptibility
- Colorectal adenomatous polyposis autosomal recessive
- Oligodontia–colorectal cancer syndrome
- Juvenile polyposis/hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia syndrome
- Adenomatous polyposis of the colon (APC)
- Peutz–Jeghers syndrome
- Colorectal cancer hereditary non-polyposis type 2
- Colorectal cancer susceptibility on chromosome 9
Lung cancer
- Lung cancer 1
- Lung cancer, alveolar cell carcinoma included
Breast cancer
- Brca1 breast cancer type 1
- Breast cancer 11–22 translocation associated
- Brca2 breast cancer type 2
- Brca3 breast cancer type 3
Basal cell carcinoma of skin (see Glossary item, Basal cell carcinoma)
- Basal cell carcinomas with milia and coarse sparse hair
- Basal cell nevus syndrome
- Basal cell carcinoma, multiple
- Basaloid follicular hamartoma syndrome (see Glossary item, Hamartoma)
- Basal cell carcinoma with follicular differentiation
- Xeroderma pigmentosum complementation group b
- Xeroderma pigmentosum 1
Renal cell carcinoma
- Renal carcinoma, familial associated 1 included
- Renal cell carcinoma, papillary
- Non-papillary renal carcinoma 1
- Renal cell carcinoma, papillary 3
- Leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer hereditary
Thyroid cancer
- Thyroid carcinoma, familial medullary
- Familial non-medullary thyroid cancer
- Papillary thyroid microcarcinoma
- Thyroid carcinoma, papillary with papillary renal neoplasia
- Thyroid carcinoma, non-medullary 1
- Thyroid carcinoma, Hürthle cell
- Thyroid carcinoma, follicular
Ovarian cancer
- Epithelial ovarian cancer
- Ovarian cancer, epithelial, susceptibility to
- Melanoma, cutaneous malignant 4
- Melanoma, cutaneous malignant 3
- Familial atypical multiple mole melanoma-pancreatic carcinoma syndrome
- Dysplastic nevus syndrome, hereditary b-k mole syndrome
Prostate cancer
- Prostate cancer, hereditary x-linked
- Prostate cancer, hereditary 1
- Prostate cancer, hereditary 20
- Prostate cancer, hereditary 7
- Prostate cancer, hereditary 3
- Prostate cancer/brain cancer, susceptibility
When we look at individual inherited cancer syndromes, we see that both rare and common cancers may result. Here is the list of different types of cancer associated with the Li–Fraumeni syndrome [15]. The syndrome-associated cancers are divided into common and rare cancers.

Common tumors associated with Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Breast cancer
- Lung adenocarcinoma
- Colon cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
Rare tumors associated with Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Soft tissue sarcomas
- Osteosarcomas
- Brain tumors
- Acute leukemias
- Adrenocortical carcinomas
- Wilms tumor
- Phyllodes tumor of breast
It is worth noting that the common cancers associated with rare cancer syndromes have a similar morphologic appearance as their sporadic counterparts. This suggests that regardless of underlying genetic cause, the pathogenesis of each named common cancer tends to converge to its characteristic phenotype.

I urge you to read more about this book. There's a good preview of the book at the Google Books site. If you like the book, please request your librarian to purchase a copy of this book for your library or reading room.

- Jules J. Berman, Ph.D., M.D. tags: rare disease, common disease, orphan disease, orphan drugs, carcinogenesis, common cancers, rare cancers, cancer syndromes, familial cancer syndromes