Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How chronic obstructive pulmonary disease increases risk of lung cancer

Date:
July 24, 2012
Source:
University of Colorado Denver
Summary:
A new study details novel mechanism of increased lung cancer risk due to COPD: long-term oxygen depletion stimulates signals that promote tumor growth.

In addition to the well-known risk factor of smoking, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) increases lung cancer risk.

A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research details one novel mechanism of this risk: long-term oxygen depletion stimulates signals that promote tumor growth. In addition, this early study -- performed in animal models -- shows that tumors fueled by these COPD-induced signals may be especially susceptible to prevention or perhaps even treatment with drugs that turn off these same signals, namely VEGFR-2 and EGFR inhibitors.

"At least in animal models, this study shows an important pathway activated in lung tumors arising in poorly oxygenated regions of the lung that isn't activated to nearly the same degree in other lung cancers," says York Miller, MD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and professor in the Department of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the paper's senior author.

"There are probably other mechanisms driving lung cancer in COPD as well -- for example, inflammation is also very likely playing in -- but this paper shows that the hypoxic sensing pathway is specifically activated in these COPD lung cancer models and that this sensing pathway is to a large degree driving tumor growth," Miller says.

Specifically, his study used animal models designed to develop cancer, which the group placed in high altitude chambers set to mimic the chronic oxygen depletion of found in parts of the lung affected by COPD. Mice in the hypoxic condition developed larger tumors than mice given normal oxygen, but, according to Miller, what was especially striking is the reason for this tumor growth.

"We saw that tumor growth in the hypoxic environment -- which mimics that of COPD conditions including chronic bronchitis and emphysema -- is due to signaling by HIF-2a. This HIF-2a in turn activates cancer growth promoting mechanisms including VEGF and the EGFR ligand, TGFa, which are growth factors involved in stimulating cell proliferation and the development of new blood vessels," Miller says.

Likewise, just as tumors that arise in hypoxic conditions do so through turning on pathways that lead to the over-production of VEGF and TGFa, so too are these tumors especially susceptible to cancer therapies that block these growth factors. Sure enough, animal models given the drug vandetanib -- a combined VEGFR/EGFR inhibitor -- failed to develop cancer under hypoxic conditions.

"Chemoprevention hasn't been done successfully for lung cancer," Miller says, "but this approach of VEGF/EGFR inhibitors for patients with COPD and extreme lung cancer risk may be something that should be explored further."

Miller imagines the next step is a review of patient records to discover if COPD lung cancer patients who happened to be treated with VEGF/EGFR inhibitors, in fact, had better tumor response than patients with normal lung function and similar tumors.

"Right now it's not a treatment," Miller says, "but it's an exciting line of inquiry."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. The original article was written by Garth Sundem. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. V. Karoor, M. Le, D. Merrick, K. A. Fagan, E. C. Dempsey, Y. E. Miller. Alveolar Hypoxia Promotes Murine Lung Tumor Growth through a VEGFR-2/EGFR-Dependent Mechanism. Cancer Prevention Research, 2012; DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-12-0069-T

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado Denver. "How chronic obstructive pulmonary disease increases risk of lung cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120724144528.htm>.
University of Colorado Denver. (2012, July 24). How chronic obstructive pulmonary disease increases risk of lung cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120724144528.htm
University of Colorado Denver. "How chronic obstructive pulmonary disease increases risk of lung cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120724144528.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. 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