Science News
from research organizations

Limiting lung cancer's spread, growth in the brain

Date:
February 27, 2017
Source:
Yale Cancer Center
Summary:
Researchers analyzed RNA from patients with disease that was limited to the lungs as well as cancers that had spread.
Share:
FULL STORY

Soon after lung cancer cells (in green) spread into the brain, extracellular matrix molecules (in red) can shield them from the hostile surroundings.
Credit: Image courtesy of Yale Cancer Center

More people die of lung cancer each year than breast, colon, and prostate cancers combined. One particularly lethal form of the disease is lung adenocarcinoma or LUAD, which afflicts both smokers and non-smokers. In many patients diagnosed with LUAD, tumors cells have already spread to the brain, leading to decreased quality of life and low survival rates. A Yale Cancer Center research team conducted a study to determine how those tumor cells manage to grow outside the lungs.

Led by associate professor of pathology and Yale Cancer Center member Don Nguyen, PhD, the researchers analyzed RNA from patients with disease that was limited to the lungs as well as cancers that had spread. They also studied animal models of LUAD to identify common pathways.

The researchers found that aggressive LUAD cells expressed a number of proteins that allow them to persist outside the lungs in small numbers. They observed that the tumor cells that spread to the brain were able to utilize an extracellular molecule, which shields them from their hostile surroundings. "These occult lung cancer cells have found a unique way to co-opt the 'brain microenvironment' and survive," said Nguyen. The study findings have already led to a collaboration with a pharmaceutical company to test drugs targeting that pathway, he said.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Yale Cancer Center. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laura E Stevens, William KC Cheung, Sally J Adua, Anna Arnal-Estapé, Minghui Zhao, Zongzhi Liu, Kelly Brewer, Roy S. Herbst, Don X Nguyen. Extracellular matrix receptor expression in subtypes of lung adenocarcinoma potentiates outgrowth of micrometastases. Cancer Research, 2017; canres.1978.2016 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-1978

Cite This Page:

Yale Cancer Center. "Limiting lung cancer's spread, growth in the brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170227152336.htm>.
Yale Cancer Center. (2017, February 27). Limiting lung cancer's spread, growth in the brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170227152336.htm
Yale Cancer Center. "Limiting lung cancer's spread, growth in the brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170227152336.htm (accessed May 28, 2017).

RELATED STORIES