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Large-scale genetic study sheds new light on lung cancer
Date:10/22/2008

, how they occur and how they disrupt biological pathways to cause cancer's uncontrolled cell growth. To gain a more complete picture, researchers have joined together to form TSP and other large, collaborative projects that are using new tools and technologies to examine the complete set of DNA, or genome, found in various types of cancer.

"We found lung adenocarcinoma to be very diverse from a genetic standpoint. Our work uncovered many new targets for therapy of this deadly disease -- oncogenes that drive particular forms of lung adenocarcinoma and tumor suppressor genes that would ordinarily prevent cancer cell growth," said Matthew Meyerson, M.D., Ph.D., a senior author of the paper. Dr. Meyerson is a senior associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and an associate professor at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School.

In the new study, the TSP team purified DNA from tumor samples and matching non-cancerous tissue donated by 188 patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Next, they sequenced the DNA to look for mutations in 623 genes with known or potential relationships to cancer. Prior to the study, fewer than a dozen genes had been implicated in lung adenocarcinoma. The latest research identified 26 new genes that are mutated in a significant number of samples. Most of these genes had not previously been associated with lung adenocarcinoma.

Among the genes newly implicated in lung adenocarcinoma are:

  • Neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1). Mutations in this gene have previously been shown to cause neurofibromatosis 1, a rare inherited disorder characterized by unchecked growth of tissue of the nervous system.

  • Ataxia Telengiectasia Mutated (ATM). ATM mutations have previously been shown to play a role in ataxia telangiectasia, which is a rare inherited neurological disorder of childhood, and in various types of leukemia and lymphoma.

  • Retinoblastoma 1 (RB1). Past research
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Contact: Geoff Spencer
spencerg@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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