Lung cancer progression process not limited to late stages of disease

Share this article:

A tumor-associated protein with cell-transforming properties has been identified as an attractive molecular target for the development of new therapies to prevent early-stage lung adenocarcinomas from progressing.

In a mouse model, the Rac1b protein stimulated a change in epithelial cells of the lung. The change, known as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), triggered tumor development and now appears to be a key step in lung cancer progression during the earliest stages of cancer, according to lead investigator and Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville, Florida) cancer biologist Derek Radisky, PhD.

Whereas normal cells recognize when they are dividing too rapidly and turn on programs that block inappropriate cell division, “here we found that early-stage lung cancer cells switch on EMT in order to bypass these controls,” Radisky explained in a Mayo Clinic statement describing the study findings, which were published in Science Translational Medicine (2012;4[142]:142ra95).

EMT requires the ability of cells and tissues to morph from one type to another and develop in an orchestrated fashion. The process is a well-recognized transition in many types of late-stage solid tumors, which use EMT to change the tumor cells into a form that can migrate through the blood. This leads Radisky and colleagues to believe that the same early-stage use of EMT they discovered in lung cancer is likely occurring in other cancers as well. Inhibiting the function of the Rac1b protein, which is expressed abundantly in stage 1 and stage 2 lung adenocarcinomas, may represent a way to prevent progression of early-stage lung cancers.

“This study offers us great new clues for a new approach to treating lung and possibly other cancers as early as possible,” stated Radisky.

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of ONA to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters

Regimen and Drug Listings


Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Genitourinary Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Rare Cancers Regimens
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs

More in Web Exclusives

Tumor suppressor mutations alone do not explain deadly cancer

Although mutations in a gene dubbed the "guardian of the genome" are recognized as being associated with more aggressive cancers, evidence suggests that the deleterious health effects of the mutated gene may in large part be due to other genetic abnormalities.

Triple therapy revs up immune system against a common brain tumor

A triple therapy for glioblastoma, consisting of two types of immunotherapy and targeted radiation, has significantly prolonged the survival of mice with these brain cancers, according to a new report.

Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial identifies men most likely to undergo biopsy

Healthy men participating in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial who actively participate in all trial steps are most likely to undergo a biopsy at the end of the trial, according to recent research.