Researchers have identified how malignant tumors develop in lung cancer. They hope to develop new treatments.
Better understanding cancer to better treat it: this is the goal of many researchers. In the United States, a team is shedding new light on lung cancer. According to their results published in eLife, two coordinated genetic mutations would cause the development of malignant tumors.
Three molecules involved
Lung cancer can take different forms, the main one being lung adenocarcinoma. In 75% of the cases, the tumor is due to mutations affecting two mechanisms necessary for cell growth: those concerning the PI3-kinase protein and the MAP kinase pathway. Through genetically modified mouse trials, the researchers discovered that the two coordinated genetic mutations are the cause of tumor growth. "Both mutations cooperate to encourage the growth of malignant tumors," says Ed Van Veen, director of research. They also discovered that a third molecule played a role in the development of the tumor: PGC1 ?. The latter is at the origin of the coordination of the two proteins, and it modifies the pulmonary cells in order to make them lose their characteristics, which contributes to the progression of the tumor.
The hope of new treatments
With these results, the team wants to develop new drugs for lung cancer. "Both MAP-kinase and PI3-kinase are already being targeted by therapies being tested," says Martin McMahon, co-author, "this study could affect the use of new drugs in clinical trials." Nearly 45,000 new cases are detected in France each year. In 2018, more than 33,000 people died.