Navigation Links
Key to lung cancer chemo resistance revealed

Scientists at Johns Hopkins have discovered how taking the brakes off a "detox" gene causes chemotherapy resistance in a common form of lung cancer.

Products made by a gene called NRF2 normally protect cells from environmental pollutants like cigarette smoke and diesel exhaust by absorbing the materials and pumping them out of the cell. Another gene called KEAP1 encodes products that stop this cleansing process. But lung cancer cells sabotage the expression of these same genes to block assault from chemotherapy drugs.

"What we're seeing is that lung cancer cells recruit and distort NRF2 and KEAP1 expression to help tumor cells evade the toxic effects of chemotherapy," says Shyam Biswal, Ph.D., associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Kimmel Cancer Center, who published results of cell culture studies in the October 3, 2006 issue of PLoS Medicine.

Past studies have shown that NRF2 detoxifies cells by directing proteins to absorb and pump out pollutants and chemicals. The NRF2 gene makes a "trigger" protein which starts the production of other proteins and enzymes that sweep the cell clear of toxins. To halt the detox process, proteins manufactured by KEAP1 bind to the NRF2 triggers tagging them for destruction. In cancer cells, NRF2 activity runs amok, sweeping away all cellular toxins, including chemotherapy agents.

Biswal says that blocking NRF2 activity could improve the effectiveness of standard chemotherapy drugs, particularly platinum-based compounds widely used for lung cancer.

In Biswal's study, half of 12 lung cancer cell lines and 10 of 54 tissue samples from non-small cell lung cancer patients had mutations in the KEAP1 gene rendering it inactive and unable to keep NRF2 activity in check. In addition, half of the tissue samples were missing one copy of the KEAP1 gene - cells usually have two copies of each gene. No missing genes or mutations were observed in normal lung tissues from the same patients.

NRF2 activity along with its cleansing proteins and enzymes were higher in tumor samples than normal cells, according to the researchers. Their cell culture tests also show that cancer cells with KEAP1 mutations are more resistant to chemotherapy drugs than normal lung cells.

Tumor samples with normal KEAP1 genes also show increased levels of NRF2 and its enzymes, suggesting other ways of dismantling KEAP1, such as splicing the gene to make a shortened, ineffective protein, he said.

The researchers plan to confirm their findings with a larger set of samples and then to screen for appropriate drugs. Funding for the study was provided by the National Cancer Institute Lung SPORE (Specialized Program of Research Excellence), National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Center, National Institute of Health, and the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institution.

Source:Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Related biology news :

1. Viral DNA sequence a possible trigger for breast cancer
2. Enzyme, lost in most mammals, is shown to protect against UV-induced skin cancer
3. Its not all genetic: Common epigenetic problem doubles cancer risk in mice
4. Columbia research lifts major hurdle to gene therapy for cancer
5. Combination therapy boosts effectiveness of telomere-directed cancer cell death
6. Mitochondrial DNA mutations play significant role in prostate cancer
7. New imaging method gives early indication if brain cancer therapy is effective, U-M study shows
8. BRCA1 causes ovarian cancer through indirect, biochemical route
9. Researchers identify target for cancer drugs
10. Weizmann Institute scientists develop a new approach for directing treatment to metastasized prostate cancer in the bones.
11. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases

Post Your Comments:

(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  Rubicon Genomics, ... for U.S. distribution of its DNA library preparation ... and Rubicon,s new ThruPLEX Plasma-seq kit. ThruPLEX Plasma-seq ... the preparation of NGS libraries for liquid biopsies--the ... diagnostic and prognostic applications in cancer and other ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... -- Munich, Germany , October ... automatically maps data from mobile eye tracking videos created ... that they can be quantitatively analyzed with SMI,s analysis ... , October 28-29, 2015. SMI,s Automated Semantic Gaze ... tracking videos created with SMI,s Eye Tracking Glasses ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... , Oct. 23, 2015 Research and ... the "Global Voice Recognition Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... --> The global voice recognition biometrics ... 2014-2019. --> --> ... has been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... CITY , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna ... affirms that its business and prospects remain fundamentally ... , Zoptrex™ (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation ... to completion following review of the final interim ... Phase 2 Primary Endpoint in men with heavily ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte, ... their initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward to other ... stage investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join other successful ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO ) will be presenting at the ... on Wednesday, December 2 at 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 a.m. PT . ... a corporate overview. th Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare Conference ... a.m. PT . Jim Mazzola , vice president of ... --> th Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare Conference in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris ... of IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange, ... release there are no corporate developments that would cause ... --> --> About Aeterna ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is a ...
Breaking Biology Technology: