10 September 2012
A large-scale lung cancer study has indicated that more targeted therapies could be used in an effort to prevent mortality.
The study, which was published in the journal Nature, found that almost 75 per cent of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the lung have mutations that can be targeted through existing drugs, which are available commercially or for clinical trials.
While current treatment for squamous cell lung cancers includes chemotherapy and radiation, there are no drugs which are specifically designed to target this particular type of lung cancer.
For the research, scientists examined the tumours and normal tissue of 178 patients with the cancer, and found recurring mutations common to many patients in 18 genes.
Furthermore, almost all of the tumours exhibited mutations in a gene called TP53, which is known for its role in repairing damaged DNA.
Richard K Wilson, PhD, director of The Genome Institute at Washington University, explained: "We clearly see mutations in lung cancer that we see in other human cancers.
"This reinforces something that we've been seeing in a lot of our cancer genomics work. It's really less about what type of tissue the tumor arises in – lung, breast, skin, prostate – and more about what genes and pathways are affected."
Posted by Edward Bartel
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