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New potential targets discovered for treating squamous cell lung cancers
Date:9/9/2012

oma causes approximately 400,000 deaths per year worldwide.

As in the three previous TCGA reports on the brain cancer glioblastoma, on ovarian cancer, and on colorectal cancer, the scientists used multiple large-scale approaches to highlight key molecular defects. They sequenced the protein-coding segments of the genomes of 178 squamous cell carcinoma tumors, along with normal tissue from the same patients. The researchers also sequenced the whole genomes of 19 tumor and normal tissue pairs. They mapped a diverse catalog of genomic alterations, including the rearrangements of chromosomes and other structural changes in regions of the genome that might not encode proteins but could control nearby genes involved in cancer development.

The comprehensive study confirmed some previously identified genomic alterations. For example, the TP53 gene was altered in 90 percent of the tumors and the CDKN2A gene was inactivated in 72 percent of tumors. These genes normally prevent cancer, but when they are switched off, tumors can grow unimpeded. CDKN2A may be susceptible to a kinase inhibitor, presenting an opportunity for clinical trials.

Overall the researchers identified mutations or amplifications in three families of tyrosine kinases, which are enzymes that act like power switches for many cellular functions. Frequently altered in cancer, they are already being investigated as therapeutic targets in other cancers. The researchers also found genomic alterations in signaling pathways that could present important opportunities for treatment.

In another striking finding, the researchers discovered mutations in the HLA-A gene that hampered its function in tumors. HLA genes direct the arm of the immune system that discriminates between its own tissues and foreign invaders. This is the first cancer in which these mutations have been found, but they are likely to occur in other cancers, Meyerson said.

"To our knowledge, this is the firs
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Contact: Haley Bridger
hbridger@broadinstitute.org
617-714-7968
Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Source:Eurekalert

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