In the US, it’s common to see a ribbon pinned somewhere to show support for a disease. Pink for breast cancer, red for heart diseases, yellow for leukemia (and a long list of other items). But one that you won’t find a ribbon for is gallbladder cancer. With gallbladder cancer a far less common disease in the US, it doesn’t receive the attention that more common diseases receive. However, look outside peoples of European decent and gallbladder cancer is far more common. In fact, there is such a significant difference in the cases of gallbladder cancer between those of European decent and South Asian, Indian, Central and South American, and Native American decent, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, along with the National Cancer Institute and Tata Memorial Cancer Center in Mumbai, India, began searching for a common gene. On Tuesday, March 6, they published their finding of that common DNA variants.

The researchers discovered the combination of two DNA variants, one previously linked to gallstones, led to a predisposition to gallbladder cancer. These variants were shown for the first time to be inherited and the researchers will continue to look for additional DNA variants.

Gallbladder cancer is considered quite deadly as often it isn’t discovered until the cancer is well advanced and has spread to other organs. The findings will hopefully lead to earlier detection and better treatment. You may read the news release of the research on our website.