The gene SOX2 is activated in lung and esophageal squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), according to a study published online in Nature Genetics. This discovery highlights a new link between stem cells and cancer.
SCC is a type of cancer that can form in several organs, including the skin, mouth, esophagus, urinary bladder, prostate, and lung. About 25-30% of lung cancers are SCC of the lung and are linked to smoking. SCC of the esophagus occurs in less than 10% of all esophageal cancers and is associated with both smoking and alcohol consumption.
Matthew Meyerson and colleagues find that the gene SOX2 is over-activated in both lung and esophageal SCC. SOX2 is an important gene for esophagus and tracheal development, and is also important in reprogramming mature cells to pluripotent stem cells.
Matthew Meyerson (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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