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Gene expression changes in nasal cells may help identify lung cancer in earliest stages
Date:5/15/2011

patients with lung cancer and those with benign disease," Dr. Anderlind said.

The researchers identified 170 genes that were differentially expressed between patients with and without lung cancer. They also found that genes linked to colon cancer and adenocarcinoma, as well as genes that trigger cell division and blood vessel growth, were expressed more heavily in patients with cancer. Genes involved in tumor suppression were also expressed at lower levels in these patients.

Earlier studies have used gene expression differences in the bronchial airways to identify lung cancer in its early stages. Dr. Anderlind said she and her colleagues relied on those results to design the current study.

"In this study we used the same principle as we used in our earlier studies of bronchial tissue, only this time, those methods were used to study nasal cells," she said. "Our hypothesis was that the upper airway epithelium of smokers with lung cancer displays a cancer-specific gene expression pattern, and that this airway nasal gene expression signature reflects the changes that occur in lung tissue."

Dr. Anderlind said the results of the current study are an initial indication that simple nasal brushings could offer an alternative to lung biopsy and other invasive techniques aimed at identifying lung cancer in its early stages.

"This study is a pilot study and our results are preliminary," she said. "Although we did have some indication based on previous studies that we might find gene expression changes in nasal cells, it was unexpected that normal-looking airway cells located at a distance from the lungs would show a specific gene signature that distinguishes patients with cancer from those with benign disease," she said.

A larger study funded by the National Cancer Institute's Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) in collaboration with Steven Dubinett and David Elashoff at UCLA and with Allegro Diagnostics Inc, is planne
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Contact: Keely Savoie
ksavoie@thoracic.org
212-315-8620
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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