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New gene target for aggressive lung cancer discovered

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Northwestern Medicine scientists discovered and described a A new gene responsible for activating an aggressive subtype of small cell lung cancer, the P subtype, for which there is currently no effective treatment.

“This type of cancer is resistant to many drugs, but not many studies have looked at it,” the main Study author Lu Wang, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “By identifying this important gene, we now have a good drug target.”

“This is a great opportunity for patients It’s devastating for them and their families when we tell them there is no effective treatment for this cancer,” Wang said.

Part of the problem is that the treatment of small cell lung cancer has remained relatively unchanged, relying primarily on chemotherapy. Most patients develop chemoresistance, affecting the overall efficacy of the limited available treatment options and leading to cancer recurrence, Wang said.

Based on genome-wide CRISPR screens, scientists identified genes that are critical for this tumor subtype to thrive, says Wang important. When Wang’s team deleted the gene in vitro and in mouse small-cell lung cancer cells, the cancer cells couldn’t survive. Scientists plan to develop a drug that disrupts the function of this gene to treat this subtype of lung cancer in patients.

They named the gene POU2AF2 based on the new function reported in the new paper.

“Our ultimate goal is to implement a more personalized clinical approach to small cell lung cancer by targeting mechanisms based on tumor growth factors that regulate molecular subtypes,” said Wang, who is also a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University.

The study will be published on October 5 in Science progress.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the United States, with an estimated 131,880 deaths expected in 2022. American Cancer Society. Lung cancer kills more people each year than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined.

Despite improvements in lung cancer screening and medical advances in general, lung cancer is still primarily diagnosed in the late stages of tumor development. diagnosed. Spreads to other parts of the body, making it difficult to treat. This dilemma especially applies to small-cell lung cancer, an aggressive form of lung cancer that is diagnosed at an advanced stage in 70 percent of cases, Wang said.

The scientists’ discovery has the potential to serve as a biomarker to identify this early-stage subtype of small cell lung cancer.

More information: Aileen Szczepanski et al., POU2AF2/C11orf53 by maintaining chromatin accessibility and enhancers Activity as a coactivator of POU2F3, Science Advances (2022). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abq2403. www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abq2403

Citation : Discovery of a new gene for aggressive lung cancer Targets (Oct. 5, 2022), Retrieved Oct. 19, 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-gene-aggressive-lung-cancer.html

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