Researchers identify biomarker for smoker's lung cancer

Mayo Clinic researchers have shown that a specific protein pair may be a successful prognostic biomarker for identifying smoking-related lung cancers. The protein—ASCL1—is associated with increased expression of the RET oncogene, a particular cancer-causing gene called RET. The findings appear in the online issue of the journal Oncogene.

"This is exciting because we've found what we believe to be a 'drugable target' here," says George Vasmatzis, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic researcher and senior author on the study. "It's a clear biomarker for aggressive adenocarcinomas. These are the fast-growing found in smokers' lungs."

ASCL1 is known to control neuroendocrine cell development and was previously linked to regulation of thyroid and small cell lung , but not smoking-related lung cancer. The research also showed that patients with ASCL1 tumors with high levels of the RET oncogene protein did not survive as long as ASCL1 patients with low levels of RET.

When researchers blocked the ASCL1 protein in lung cancer cell lines expressing both genes, the level of RET decreased and slowed. This leads researchers to believe this mechanism will be a promising target for potential drugs and a strong candidate for clinical trials.

The co-authors of the study include Farhad Kosari, Ph.D.; Cristiane Ida, M.D.; Marie Christine Aubry, M.D.; Lin Yang, Ph.D.; Irina Kovtun, Ph.D.; Janet Schaefer Klein; Yan Li, M.D.; Sibel Erdogan; Sandra Tomaszek, M.D.; Stephen Murphy, Ph.D.; Lynn Bolette; Christopher Kolbert; Ping Yang, M.D., Ph.D.; and Dennis Wigle, M.D., Ph.D., all of Mayo Clinic.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New approach in the treatment of breast cancer

Aug 08, 2013

Scientists at the MedUni Vienna, in collaboration with a working group led by Nancy Hynes at the University of Basel, have discovered a new approach in the treatment of breast cancer: an international team ...

Alternative target for breast cancer drugs

Jul 19, 2013

Scientists have identified higher levels of a receptor protein found on the surface of human breast tumour cells that may serve as a new drug target for the treatment of breast cancer. The results, which are published today ...

NTRK1: A new oncogene and target in lung cancer

Jun 03, 2013

To the list of oncogenic drivers of lung cancer that includes ALK, EGFR, ROS1 and RET, results of a University of Colorado Cancer Center study presented at ASCO 2013 show that mutations in the gene NTRK1 cause a subset of ...

Recommended for you

Survival differences seen for advanced-stage laryngeal cancer

Nov 27, 2014

The five-year survival rate for advanced-stage laryngeal cancer was higher than national levels in a small study at a single academic center performing a high rate of surgical therapy, including a total laryngectomy (removal ...

Gene test aids cancer profile

Nov 27, 2014

The first round of chemotherapy did little to suppress Ron Bose's leukemia. The second round, with 10 times the dose, knocked the proliferating blast cells down, but only by half.

User comments

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.