Researchers at UCLAs Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered a novel mechanism to predict survival in older women with early stage lung cancer. The finding may have significant implications for new treatment approaches.
For the first time, UCLA researchers linked higher levels of aromatase, an enzyme that naturally makes estrogen from another hormone called androgen, to more aggressive disease and lower survival rates in women over 65 with Stage 1 or 2 lung cancer. The discovery not only gives physicians a possible new tool to predict survival but may also provide a target for therapy using aromatase inhibitors, already approved for the treatment of breast cancer.
The study, conducted as part of the Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in lung cancer at UCLA, appears in the Nov. 1 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Research.
"All indications suggest that this is a very powerful prognostic marker that lets us predict which patients have a higher likelihood of prolonged survival versus death from lung cancer," said the study's senior author, Lee Goodglick, an associate professor in the UCLA Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher. "If doctors know that a woman has a higher probability of longer-term survival, they may choose a more strategic course of action, compared to a woman with a more aggressive form of lung cancer, where doctors might choose a more aggressive course of therapy. Another notable finding from this study is that were able to predict survival at a relatively early stage of the disease, when we have more treatment options.
Based on research done at Jonsson Cancer Center labs, scientists knew that estrogen played a role in lung cancer growth, much as it does in breast cancer. In animal models, researchers showed that either estrogen or aromatase triggered the growth of human lung cancer tumors.
They then looked retrospectively
|Contact: Kim Irwin|
University of California - Los Angeles