Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook




 

Lung cancer genetics moves forward

04 November 2013

By Dr Sarah Spain

Appeared in BioNews 729

Two recent studies have shown how treatments for lung cancer can be tailored to a tumour's genetic make-up, which may ultimately improve existing treatments or even help to identify new ones.

In the first study, published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers showed that a method of classifying lung cancer tumours according to their genetic composition lead to improved treatment outcomes for some patients.

The researchers studied tumours from over 5,000 patients with lung cancer and produced a blueprint to subdivide the tumours into genetically defined classes. An improvement in cancer survival time was seen in patients who received genetically informed treatment, compared to standard chemotherapy.

Reinhard Buttner, professor of pathology at University Hospital Cologne, Germany and a co-author on the paper said that 'systematic profiling of gene mutation in lung cancer allows precise classification and diagnostics and predicts the efficacy of targeted and personalised therapies'.

'Every lung cancer should be analysed for mutations to find the best therapy', he added.

But Dr Sarah Hazell, senior information officer at Cancer Research UK said 'it's too early to claim a victory'.

'[Lung cancer is] still one of the hardest to treat cancers, and matching patients to a personalised treatment is still in its infancy', she said.

In the second study, published in Nature Medicine, researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the University of Colorado Cancer Center, USA, identified a mutation in three of 91 tumour samples where standard clinical testing could not detect known alterations.

Using next-generation sequencing, the researchers described a genetic mutation caused by the fusion of two normally separate genes that causes cells to divide rapidly. A treatment that blocks the protein of one of the genes - the NTRK1 gene - was shown to destroy the cancer cells, potentially leading to a new avenue of treatment for these types of lung cancer.

Dr Vincent Miller, chief medical officer at Foundation Medicine and co-author of the study said, 'Our understanding of cancer complexity is increasing, and lung cancer continues to be dissected into a series of uncommon or even rare diseases based on the molecular alterations driving a patient's individual cancer'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Science Translational Medicine | 30 October 2013
 
Foundation Medicine (press release) | 27 October 2013
 
Philly.com (HealthDay News) | 30 October 2013
 
BBC News | 30 October 2013
 
Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News | 29 October 2013
 
Nature Medicine | 27 October 2013
 
EurekAlert! (press release) | 27 October 2013
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

15 September 2014 - by Antony Blackburn-Starza 
Scientists have shown that minimal genetic changes can be detected in vapour containing cells engineered to replicate early stage lung cancer....
09 June 2014 - by Dr Molly Godfrey 
Smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer if they carry a defective version of a gene associated with breast cancer, a study has found...

21 October 2013 - by Dr Naqash Raja 
Common gene mutations link 12 cancer types such as blood, colon and kidney, research from Washington University School of Medicine, USA, has shown...
22 April 2013 - by Siobhan Chan 
Scientists have identified an eight-gene 'signature' that can predict patients' response to chemotherapy...
14 January 2013 - by Emma Stoye 
The Department of Health has launched an advertisement campaign aiming to highlight the unseen damage caused by smoking...
17 September 2012 - by John Brinsley 
A trio of genetic studies published this week greatly expands researchers understanding of lung cancer...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust
Advertise your products and services HERE - click for further details

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation