Hsp90 is a chaperone protein that helps cellular proteins fold and mature. This protective function can also stabilise oncogenic proteins in cancer cells, exacerbating their cancer-causing potential. Gabriela Chiosis and colleagues show that Hsp90 plays a particularly important role in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) cells by inhibiting apoptosis, the programmed destruction of cells. The results in SCLC cell lines help explain why SCLC tumours are so malignant, resulting in relapses even after responding well to chemotherapy.
Various selective compounds identified by the authors are potential candidates for treating SCLC patients in the future, since they allow SCLC to overcome their apoptosis defects. Further studies should help to explore this possibility.
Gabriela Chiosis (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Chemical Biology press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza