Taking aim at metastatic lung tumors

Jun 14, 2010

A new study uses a sophisticated genomic analysis to unravel some of the complex cellular signals that drive the deadly invasive spread of lung cancer. The research, published by Cell Press in the June issue of the journal Cancer Cell, identifies specific molecules involved in the often fatal metastasis of a common type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and uses this information to design effective therapeutic strategies.

"Previous cancer genomics studies have established a number of oncogene and tumor suppressor pathways as important for the initiation and maintenance of NSCLC," explains senior study author, Dr. Kwok-Kin Wong from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "However, the molecular alterations necessary for invasion and metastases of NSCLC are less well-defined. Because metastasis causes much of the morbidity and incurability of cancer, there is an urgent need to elucidate the events underlying this biological process.

Dr. Wong and colleagues had recently shown that the loss of the Lkb1 in a significant population of lung tumors results in metastasis in mice. Although the Lkb1 gene has also been linked with about 30% of human lung cancers, the pathways responsible for the metastatic effects had not been identified. To gain insight into the signaling pathways that underlie Lkb1-deficient lung tumors, the research team performed a comprehensive analysis of the genomic and signaling protein signatures of primary and metastatic lung tumors.

Loss of Lkb1 in mouse and human lung cancer cells was associated with an increase in the activity of proteins that are known to modulate cell motility and adhesion. Importantly, combined pharmacological inhibition of these key regulatory proteins in Lkb1-deficient cells decreased and induced tumor regression.

"Our analyses of primary and metastatic Lkb1-deficient mouse lung tumors have shown that progression to metastatic is associated with unique gene and protein signatures," concludes Dr. Wong. "Importantly, our findings indicate that despite the complex transcriptional and signaling changes that occur in the setting of Lkb1 loss and progression of NSCLC, these tumors may still be addicted to isolated oncogenic events that can be successfully therapeutically targeted."

Explore further: Researchers explain cancer-destroying compound in extra virgin olive oil

More information: Carretero et al.: “Integrative Genomic and Proteomic Analyses Identify Targets for Lkb1-Deficient Metastatic Lung Tumors.” Publishing in Cancer Cell 17, 547-559, June 15, 2010. DOI 10.1016/j.ccr.2010.04.026

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A potent suppressor of endometrial cancer is revealed

Feb 08, 2010

Endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive tract, representing 6% of all cancers. There is currently no screening method or biomarker to indicate early presence of disease. "It is a very common ...

Lung cancer cells activate inflammation to induce metastasis

Dec 31, 2008

A research team from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has identified a protein produced by cancerous lung epithelial cells that enhances metastasis by stimulating the activity of inflammatory cells. ...

Research reveals what drives lung cancer's spread

Jul 02, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new study by researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) reveals the genetic underpinnings of what causes lung cancer to quickly metastasize, or spread, to the brain and the bone - the ...

Recommended for you

US women's awareness of breast density varies

14 hours ago

Disparities in the level of awareness and knowledge of breast density exist among U.S. women, according to the results of a Mayo Clinic study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Study shows why some brain cancers resist treatment

14 hours ago

Scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center may have discovered why some brain cancer patients develop resistance to standard treatments including radiation and the chemotherapy agent temozolomide.

Researchers identify genes responsible for lung tumors

16 hours ago

The lung transcription factor Nkx2-1 is an important gene regulating lung formation and normal respiratory functions after birth. Alterations in the expression of this transcription factor can lead to diseases such as lung ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.