Specific oncogene may serve as marker for lung squamous cell carcinoma

Researchers have identified an oncogene that is linked specifically to lung squamous cell carcinoma, according to a study published in PLoS Medicine (2010 Jul 27;7(7):e1000315).

For the study, William Lockwood and colleagues from the BC Cancer Agency's Research Centre in Vancouver, Canada used a comparative genetic hybridization technique to show that the focal amplification of chromosome region 8p12 played a role in the development of lung squamous cell carcinoma but not in the development of lung adenocarcinoma, where DNA loss in this chromosomal region is the most common alteration.

Researchers identified the oncogene, called BRF2, and reported that it was frequently activated in pre-invasive stages of lung squamous cell carcinoma—carcinoma in situ and dysplasia.

“This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show that the focal amplification of a gene in chromosome 8p12 plays a key role in squamous cell lineage specificity of the disease. Our data suggest that genetic activation of BRF2 represents a unique mechanism of lung squamous cell carcinoma tumorgenesis,” the authors concluded. “It [BRF2] can serve as a marker of lung squamous cell carcinoma and may provide a novel target for therapy.”

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