Research 1 min read

Newly Discovered Mutations Could Expand Treatment Options for Patients With Lung Cancer

By John Lugo featured image Jonathan Bailey, NHGRI

Scientists from several research centers, including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, have discovered mutations in a cancer-causing pathway in the most common subtype of lung cancer, lung adenocarcinoma. Because drugs that target these mutations already exist, this newfound knowledge could help identify more patients with treatable mutations. The discovery could also expand the number of new therapeutic targets for lung adenocarcinoma. From the press release:

In this new study, published online July 9, 2014, in the journal Nature, researchers from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network, led by Dana-Farber scientist Matthew Meyerson, MD, PhD, examined the genomes, RNA, and some protein from 230 lung adenocarcinoma samples. In three-quarters of the samples, the scientists ultimately identified mutations that put a cell-signaling pathway known as the RTK/RAS/RAF pathway into overdrive.

“Lung adenocarcinoma is the leading cause of human cancer death. This is because there are so many ways to develop the disease, and many different pathways are altered in this cancer,” said Meyerson, who is also a Broad senior associate member. “In recent years, we have made enormous progress in lung adenocarcinoma treatment by targeting EGFR, ALK, and other mutated proteins. Through this study, we are able to add to the range of such alterations and therefore gain potential new therapeutic targets.”

Go here to see the full details of this promising discovery.