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Cells appearing normal may actually be harbingers of lung cancer
Date:3/7/2014

HOUSTON -- Seemingly healthy cells may in fact hide clues that lung cancer will later develop, according to a study led by researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center The research is published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Examination of gene expression in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) showed the area adjacent to tumors is rich with cancer markers. In addition, researchers discovered the previously unknown role of a cancer-promoting gene in the airways of smokers with lung cancer.

"We believe this study has a "double whammy" application," said study lead author Humam Kadara, Ph.D., assistant professor, Translational Molecular Pathology at MD Anderson. "These cancer-associated changes that distinguish the airways of smokers with lung cancer and healthy smokers may help us diagnose lung cancer earlier and develop more effective strategies for treatment."

Field cancerization may yield answers

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates more than 224,000 cases are diagnosed each year, and more than 159,000 people die of the disease. Almost 90 percent of lung cancers are NSCLC.

Symptoms of lung cancer usually don't appear until the disease is advanced and untreatable. Although it's believed to start as pre-cancerous changes in the lung, little is known about those changes that lead to lung cancer.

Field cancerization (FC) is a phenomenon in which large areas of cells are affected by a cancer-causing event, such as smoking. This is the first effort to comprehensively examine gene expression, known as the transcriptome, of the adjacent airway field cancerization in NSCLC.

Previous research, including pioneering work at MD Anderson by this study's senior author Ignacio Wistuba, M.D., and others, has shown normal-appearing tissue close
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Contact: Scott Merville
smerville@mdanderson.rg
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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