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Good News and Bad News Around the BAP1 Gene Mutation

Patients who are identified as carrying the BAP1 genetic mutation have reason for concern as well as reason to celebrate according to the results of a recent study. A group of researchers from the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute-Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles, the Hofstra-North Shore LIJ School of Medicine In New York and the New York University Langone Medical Cente in New York have collaborated on a study that showed that while those with BAP1 are at higher risk for being diagnosed with a number of different cancers, including malignant mesothelioma, they also have a seven times greater chance of long-term survival than do patients who do not carry the gene.

BAP1 is officially known as BRCA 1-associated protein. It is a gene that suppresses tumors, and when it appears on the chromosome 3p21 it is a mutation that has not only been shown to link to a higher incidence of mesothelioma and several other kinds of cancers, but also has now been shown to be highly responsive to treatment.
The team reached its conclusions after having reviewed data from the U.S. SEER database of almost 11,000 mesothelioma patients. The data has been collected over a nearly forty year period, and the group found that among that large pool, there were just under two dozen patients with the mutation. They analyzed that group’s survival data and found that though most mesothelioma patients live just a little over a year, those patients with the genetic mutation had an overall median survival rate of five years. Nearly half of them lived over five years. When comparing that to the rest of the group, there were only 6.7 percent of the controls who lived for that period of time after diagnosis. The prognosis for patients who had been diagnosed with another malignancy on top of their mesothelioma diagnosis also had a better survival rate than those who were diagnosed with mesothelioma alone. There is o explanation for this unusual statistic.

The researchers findings held true for men and for women and was not dependent upon the age of the patients or the period of their asbestos exposure. Malignant mesothelioma is associated with exposure to asbestos, and is considered to be an always fatal form of cancer.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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