A comprehensive list of cancer driver genes published in Nature Genetics

A comprehensive list of cancer driver genes published in Nature Genetics

News from CRG

An innovative algorithm identifies 460 genes that are important for the development of cancer, uncovering tumor-gene associations that had not previously been identified. The study, published in Nature Genetics, provides a comprehensive resources of cancer driver genes to date.

Cancer driver genes are genes that give cells a growth advantage when they are mutated, helping tumours proliferate. Identifying these genes is a crucial step towards personalising treatment for cancer, but the complexity and diversity of cancerous cells make finding these genes difficult.

Researchers develop sophisticated algorithms to look for genetic mutations that specifically drive tumour development, discarding mutations which confer no advantage. These cancer driver mutations are catalogued and can be used as reference points to diagnose and treat the disease.

In this study, researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston describe a new method that outperforms seven current methods for cancer driver gene detection in 26 out of 28 cancer types.

The innovative algorithm considers “unusual” mutation contexts in the DNA of cancers, which untangles some of the nuances in interpreting whether a gene will drive tumour proliferation.


Dietlein, F., Weghorn, D., Taylor-Weiner, A. et al. Identification of cancer driver genes based on nucleotide context. Nat Genet (2020).

More information:
CRG website