Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Identifying smokers at highest risk for developing lung cancer: Researchers find new approach

Date:
April 7, 2010
Source:
Boston University Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have discovered a new approach for identifying smokers at the highest risk for developing lung cancer. The findings will allow the researchers to use a genomic approach to prevent lung cancer in these individuals and to personalize cancer chemoprophylaxis and therapy.

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) in collaboration with investigators at the University of Utah, have discovered a new approach for identifying smokers at the highest risk for developing lung cancer. The findings, which appear in the April 7th issue of Science Translational Medicine, will allow the researchers to use a genomic approach to prevent lung cancer in these individuals and to personalize cancer chemoprophylaxis and therapy.

Cigarette smoke is the dominant cause of lung cancer in the United States, accounting for an estimated 90 percent of all cases. While only 10-20 percent of smokers develop lung cancer in their lifetime, there are currently no tools available to identify which of the approximately 90 million current and former smokers in the U.S. are at the highest risk. Unfortunately, diagnosis is most often made at a very advanced stage where treatment is largely ineffective. The damage caused by cigarette smoke, however, is not limited solely to the lung, but rather constitutes a 'field of injury' throughout the entire respiratory tract that is exposed to the toxin.

Consistent with this idea, study lead author Avrum Spira, MD, MSc, chief of the section of computational biomedicine in the department of medicine at BUSM and his colleagues, previously developed a gene expression-based biomarker measured in the cytologically normal bronchial airway epithelium that reflects an individual's physiologic response to smoking and distinguishes smokers with and without lung cancer. Although this biomarker is successful at diagnosing lung cancer, it does not identify the signaling pathways underlying these gene expression changes.

Using a novel gene-expression based approach to define oncogenic pathway signatures, the researchers, in collaboration with Dr. Andrea Bild at the University of Utah, have now discovered that the expression of genes belonging to one specific cancer-related pathway, PI3K, are activated in the cells that line the airway of smokers with lung cancer. This gene expression activity in the normal cells of the proximal airway precedes the development of lung cancer and may be reversed with a specific chemopreventive agent (myo-inositol) that targets this pathway.

"This finding is significant as these cells can be obtained in a relatively non-invasive fashion from the airway of smokers at risk for lung cancer, and does not require invasive sampling of lung tissue where lung tumors normally arise," said Spira, who is also an associate professor medicine and pathology at BUSM.

The BUSM researchers then went on to validate their findings by measuring the biochemical activity of this pathway in the airway epithelial cells from an independent group of smokers with and without lung cancer. "We found that this PI3K pathway gene expression activity is decreased in the airway of high-risk smokers who had regression (or improvement) of their premalignant lesions following treatment with a potential lung cancer chemopreventive agent known as myo-inositol, and demonstrated that myo-inositol inhibits the PI3K pathway in lung cancer cell lines," he added.

According to the researchers, the data suggests that measuring this airway gene expression activity can help determine which specific cancer pathways have been deregulated within an individual smoker, allowing one to tailor a specific drug that will target the pathway to reduce that individual's risk of lung cancer. "This represents a critical advance in the field of lung cancer prevention as there are currently no effective strategies for lung cancer prevention among high risk smokers. Our work has the potential to help address the enormous and growing public health burden associated with lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer-related death among men and women in the US and the world," added Spira.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Institutes of Health.

Spira is one of the founders of Allegro Diagnostics Inc., a molecular diagnostics company that plans to market the gene expression biomarker.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Boston University Medical Center. "Identifying smokers at highest risk for developing lung cancer: Researchers find new approach." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100407144703.htm>.
Boston University Medical Center. (2010, April 7). Identifying smokers at highest risk for developing lung cancer: Researchers find new approach. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100407144703.htm
Boston University Medical Center. "Identifying smokers at highest risk for developing lung cancer: Researchers find new approach." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100407144703.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Study Says Most Crime Not Linked To Mental Illness

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) A new study finds most crimes committed by people with mental illness are not caused by symptoms of their illness or disorder. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

Hagel Gets Preview of New High-Tech Projects

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is given hands-on demonstrations Tuesday of some of the newest research from DARPA _ the military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. 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:
from the past week

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