Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Defeating Nicotine's Double Role In Lung Cancer

Date:
June 9, 2009
Source:
American Thoracic Society
Summary:
A lung cancer treatment that inhibits nicotine receptors was shown to double survival time in mice, according to new research.

A lung cancer treatment that inhibits nicotine receptors was shown to double survival time in mice, according to Italian researchers.

The results of the early phase animal model study were reported in the June 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Changes in genes encoding nicotine receptors are strongly associated not only with the tendency to smoke, but with susceptibility to lung cancer. Nicotine exposure also heightens the expression of the nicotine receptors, which leads to increased cell proliferation and inhibition of apoptosis, further setting the stage for cancer.

Patrizia Russo, Ph.D. and Laura Paleari, Ph.D. of the Lung Cancer Unit of the National Cancer Research Institute in Genoa, Italy and colleagues from San Raffaele Pisana Scientific Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care (IRCCS), Catholic University, Campus Biomedico University in Rome, Mario Negri Institute in Milan and CEA Gyf sur Yvette in France showed in past research that an antagonist of nicotine acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs), may serve as an anticancer agent. The antagonist, called d-tubocurarine/α-Cobratoxin (α-CbT), specifically targeted the α7 subunit of nAChRs, the area primarily associated with increased cell proliferation.

In this study, the authors took the research a step further and showed that α-CbT could inhibit non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) growth and prolong life in non-obese/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice that had human NSCLC grafted to their lungs. This study attempted to mimic human cancer conditions more closely by delaying treatment until the tumors were well-established. In addition to control mice that were untreated, the researchers randomized one third of the mice to receive standard chemotherapy.

They found that NOD/SCID mice treated with the standard chemotherapy agent, cisplatin, had a 16 percent longer median survival time than untreated mice (p= 0.05). Mice treated with α-CbT, however, had an increased median survival time of 1.7-fold over the cisplatin-treated mice and 2.1-fold over the no-treatment controls (p=0.0005).

"The results of this study show that α-CbT, a powerful, high-affinity α-7-nAChR inhibitor, induces antitumor activity against NSCLC by triggering apoptosis," wrote Dr. Russo. "The prolonged survival of α-CbT-treated animals in our mouse model of NSCLC is most likely the result of several mechanisms, including various antiproliferative and antiangiogenic effects."

The research also found that unaffected (i.e., noncancerous) cells showed no inhibition of proliferation when treated with α-CbT, suggesting that the treatment would have limited if any toxic effects. Dr. Russo and colleagues postulated that this finding may be due to the reduced number of receptor binding sites on normal cells as opposed to cancerous cells. Conversely, they reported that cancer cells with the greatest number of receptor binding sites seemed to respond with the greatest sensitivity to the treatment.

"The goal of this research line is to explore the widest range of possibilities of intervention on the α7-nAChRs. We hope to move further on towards the clinical setting experimentation phase for the assessment of potentially new treatment strategies for NSCLC," said Dr. Russo.

An editorial in the same issue of the journal asked if nicotine may be to lung cancer what estrogen is to breast cancer. Eliot R. Spindel, M.D., Ph.D., of Oregon Health & Science University, stated that estrogen can stimulate the development of breast cancer and estrogen-receptor antagonists, such as tamoxifen, provide therapeutic benefit. In support of a carcinogenic role for estrogen, the incidence of breast cancer appears to be decreasing as estrogen hormone replacement therapy is being used less often. Likewise, nicotine may promote lung cancer yet nicotine receptor antagonists may offer treatment options for patients with lung cancer.

John Heffner, M.D., past president of the ATS stated that "this research clearly has profound clinical implications regarding the role of nicotine in stimulating lung cancer and nicotine receptor antagonists in treating the disease. The highly addictive nature of nicotine, however, complicates patients' ability to quit smoking and avoid ongoing nicotine exposure."

"This [addictive nature of nicotine] underscores the importance of potential FDA regulation of nicotine in tobacco products to limit exposure to this drug that promotes tumor growth," wrote Dr. Spindel.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Thoracic Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Thoracic Society. "Defeating Nicotine's Double Role In Lung Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608125107.htm>.
American Thoracic Society. (2009, June 9). Defeating Nicotine's Double Role In Lung Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608125107.htm
American Thoracic Society. "Defeating Nicotine's Double Role In Lung Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090608125107.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins