CINCINNATIA common molecular pathway could help physicians predict which lung cancer patients will benefit from chemotherapy drugs, according to new research from a multidisciplinary team at the University of Cincinnati (UC).
Known as the retinoblastoma (RB) tumor suppressor, this fundamental molecule regulates cell proliferation in the body. Research has shown that the RB pathway is either entirely inactive or altered in most human cancers. Scientists are beginning to use its actions as a biomarker for how tumors will respond to different therapies.
Michael Reed, MD, and his UC colleagues found that turning off the RB pathway in lung cancer cells resulted in an altered response to chemotherapy agents and more cancer cell death. They report their findings in the September 2007 issue of the journal Cancer Research.
Dissecting the RB pathway will help us better understand how chemotherapy works and predict which patients might benefit from therapy and which ones wont, explains Reed, assistant professor of surgery at UC and a thoracic surgeon at University Hospital.
As pathways are further defined, we could choose agents that are targeted to an individual tumors molecular characteristics, he adds.
A previous UC study, published in the January 2007 issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, showed that when this pathway is disrupted or shut off in breast cancer, the tumor resists anti-estrogen drugs and the cancer continues to grow in spite of the therapy.
For this laboratory study, Reeds team shut off the RB pathway in human non-small cell lung cancer cells and exposed them to chemotherapy agents representative of those currently used to treat lung cancer patients.
Their results showed that when RB was turned off, the cancer cells continued to divide, but became more susceptible to the drugs, so the tumors stopped growing.
But the minute you take away the chemotherapy, the cells take o
|Contact: Amanda Harper|
University of Cincinnati