Researchers identify gene involved in lung tumor growth

November 29, 2012

Lung cancer researchers at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz., in collaboration with researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute and other institutions, have identified a gene that plays a role in the growth and spread of non-small cell lung cancer tumors, opening the door for potential new treatment options.

The study, titled "Elevated Expression of Fn14 in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Correlates with Activated EGFR and Promotes and Invasion," was published in the May 2012 issue of The . Landon J. Inge, PhD, is the lead scientist in the thoracic oncology laboratory at St. Joseph's Center for Thoracic Disease and Transplantation and was a member of the study's research team.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, and approximately 85 percent of these cancers are non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). Patients with NSCLC frequently have tumors with mutations in the (EGFR) gene. When activated, this mutated gene leads to tumor development and growth. By studying lung cancer samples from patients who had undergone tumor resection, the researchers discovered that many patients with EGFR mutations also exhibited higher than normal levels of the gene fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14). The researchers believe that activation of EGFR can lead to increased expression and activity of the Fn14 gene.

The research team also discovered that while over-expression of Fn14 enhances formation and metastasis, suppression of Fn14 reduces metastasis in NSCLC.

"Our data suggest that Fn14 levels can contribute to NSCLC cell migration and invasion," says Dr. Inge. "Thus, through the targeting of Fn14 may prove to be a therapeutic intervention in NSCLC and other tumor types."

The Fn14 gene has been found to be elevated in other types of tumors, as well, including glioblastoma and certain types of breast cancer, suggesting that Fn14 may be a therapeutic target for multiple cancer therapies.

Explore further: New monoclonal antibody inhibits tumor growth in advanced solid tumors in phase I clinical trial

Related Stories

New monoclonal antibody inhibits tumor growth in advanced solid tumors in phase I clinical trial

November 6, 2012
A newly developed antibody targeting a signalling pathway that is frequently active in solid tumours has shown encouraging signs of efficacy in its first trial in humans, researchers will report at the 24th EORTC-NCI-AACR ...

The link between TB and a gene mutation that causes lung cancer

January 18, 2012
Tuberculosis (TB) has been suspected to increase a person's risk of lung cancer because the pulmonary inflammation and fibrosis can induce genetic damage. However, direct evidence of specific genetic changes and the disease ...

Novel therapeutic targets identified for small cell lung cancer

September 6, 2012
Newly discovered molecular differences between small cell lung cancer and nonsmall cell lung cancer have revealed PARP1 and EZH2 as potential therapeutic targets for patients with small cell lung cancer, according to the ...

Study reveals mechanism of lung-cancer drug resistance

January 19, 2012
New research published in Nature Medicine indicates that targeted drugs such as gefitinib might more effectively treat non-small cell lung cancer if they could be combined with agents that block certain microRNAs.

Recommended for you

New therapeutic approach for difficult-to-treat subtype of ovarian cancer identified

July 24, 2017
A potential new therapeutic strategy for a difficult-to-treat form of ovarian cancer has been discovered by Wistar scientists. The findings were published online in Nature Cell Biology.

Immune cells the missing ingredient in new bladder cancer treatment

July 24, 2017
New research offers a possible explanation for why a new type of cancer treatment hasn't been working as expected against bladder cancer.

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

0 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.