A gene known to aid suppression of some tumours is shown to reduce the aggression of lung cancers along with the risk of metastasis. The research, published in Nature, demonstrates that Lkb1 loss, combined with the mutation of another factor, Kras, in a mouse model, causes more aggressive tumours to arise.
LKB1 is a tumour suppressor gene and is often found to be mutated in patients with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, who have an increased incidence of cancer. Kras mutation and p53 loss lead to lung cancer in a mouse model, but Kwok-Kin Wong and colleagues found that, when combined with Lkb1 mutation, not only were tumours more aggressive but they were more likely to develop into squamous and large-cell carcinomas of the lung. This report also identifies LKB1 mutations in human lung cancers classified as squamous carcinomas.
Thus, LKB1 loss may be a marker for predicting disease development and spread, and the pathways regulated by LKB1 represent possible therapeutic targets.
Kwok-Kin Wong (Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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