New therapeutic target for lung cancer

March 31, 2011

A new therapeutic target for lung cancer has been discovered by researchers at Seoul National University. It was found that a variant of the protein AIMP2 is highly expressed in lung cancer cells and also that patients demonstrating high expression of this variant show lower survival. The study is published on March 31 in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics.

Lung cancer is one of the world's most common cancers and a leading cause of death resulting from cancer. Despite treatment with a combination of surgery, radiation and drugs, the survival rate for patients has not drastically improved over the past few decades. It had previously been shown that the protein AIMP2 acted as a tumor-suppressor by interacting with another oncosuppressor, p53. However, whether AIMP2 was indeed pathologically linked to human cancer had not been definitively proved. This investigation discovered that a variant of AIMP2 is highly expressed in human lung cancer cells. AIMP2-DX2 compromises the tumor-suppressing activity of AIMP2 by competitively binding to p53. It was also shown that suppression of AIMP2-DX2 slowed tumor growth, suggesting that this could be an exciting new therapeutic target.

New innovative therapies are important not only because of the high mortality rate associated with lung cancer, but because the majority of the drugs are cytotoxic, causing many adverse effects. These findings could create an opportunity to develop new innovative cancer drugs, as well as presenting a new target that could also be applied to other cancers.
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FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: This work was supported by the Global Frontier (NRF-M1AXA002-2010-0029785), Acceleration Research (R17-2007-020-01000-0), and 21st Frontier Functional Proteomics Research (M108KM010027-08K1301-02710) grants of National Research Foundation funded by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology of Korea. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

COMPETING INTERESTS: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

CITATION: Choi JW, Kim DG, Lee A-E, Kim HR, Lee JY, et al. (2011) Cancer-Associated Splicing Variant of Tumor Suppressor AIMP2/p38: Pathological Implication in Tumorigenesis. PLoS Genet 7(3): e1001351. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001351

PLEASE ADD THIS LINK TO THE FREELY AVAILABLE ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (the link will go live when the embargo ends): http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pgen.1001351

About PLoS Genetics

PLoS Genetics (http://www.plosgenetics.org) reflects the full breadth and interdisciplinary nature of genetics and genomics research by publishing outstanding original contributions in all areas of biology. All works published in PLoS Genetics are open access. Everything is immediately and freely available online throughout the world subject only to the condition that the original authorship and source are properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License.

About the Public Library of Science

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org.

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