Gene mutation tied to lung cancer

From San Francisco, at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research

Scientists have found a gene on chromosome 19 that’s often mutated in people with lung adenocarcinoma, a kind of cancer responsible for about half of all lung tumors.

The gene, called LKB1/STK11, was mutated in 8 of 24 lung adenocarcinoma tumors that the researchers analyzed but was normal in all 17 samples of other types of lung tumors, says Montserrat Snchez-Cespedes, who was part of the team that made the discovery at Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutions in Baltimore.

Scientists have identified few mutations linked to lung cancer, says Snchez-Cespedes, now at the Spanish National Cancer Center in Madrid. LKB1/STK11 encodes a protein that appears to be a tumor suppressor, but the protein’s precise function remains unknown, she says.

Lung adenocarcinoma, a non-small-cell lung cancer, tends to resist the effects of chemotherapy. “We hope these findings will help early diagnosis of this tumor” and perhaps even lead to new targets for treating this particularly lethal form of cancer, Snchez-Cespedes says.

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