Nav: Home

Researchers from CSI Singapore discover new way to inhibit development of lung cancer

August 04, 2016

Researchers from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), in collaboration with Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI), have discovered a new way in which the development of lung cancer can be stopped. In a study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine in August 2016, the researchers found that inhibiting a protein called BMI1 was able to impair tumour growth in lung cancer. The study was led by Professor Daniel Tenen, Director of CSI Singapore and his associate at HSCI, Dr Elena Levantini, and included Dr Kol Jia Yong, a former CSI Singapore graduate student of Prof Tenen. Dr Yong is one of the co-first authors of the study.

Lung cancer is one of the deadliest cancers in the world, accounting for 30 per cent of tumour-related deaths. Like many solid tumours, lung cancer is very heterogeneous (consisting of cancer cells which behave and respond differently) and hence there is currently no single efficient drug which is able to treat all patients.

Prof Tenen has worked on the differentiation factor C/EBPa for several decades, demonstrating that it is an important tumour suppressor, first in acute myelogenous leukemia, and subsequently, in studies in collaboration with Dr Levantini, in lung cancer. In addition, loss of C/EBPa has also been found to have a role in the development of other cancer types such as hepatic, squamous cell, and prostate cancer. Despite this, the ways in which C/EBPa suppresses tumour formation still remains unknown.

In the past few years, Dr Levantini continued the investigation of C/EBPa in lung cancer. She confirmed that one subtype of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) frequently expressed low levels of C/EBPa. Low or absent C/EBPa resulted in poorer survival when they corresponded with a reciprocally high expression of BMI1, a gene implicated in the development of tumours of colon, breast, and stomach, as well as some forms of leukemia. Dr Levantini then went on to conduct a pre-clinical study in which deleting C/EBPa resulted in NSCLC. Analysis of this study led to the discovery that C/EBPa suppressed lung tumour formation by inhibiting the expression of BMI1. Dr Levantini then demonstrated that reducing the levels of BMI1 by genetic means, or by using a drug reducing expression of BMI1, led to inhibition of tumour formation.

"This study has established an important link between C/EBPa and BMI1 for the first time. Furthermore, these findings suggest that assessment of expression levels of these proteins could be used as a way to predict which patients might benefit from drugs which inhibit BMI1, some of which are currently being evaluated in clinical trials," said Prof Tenen.

Moving forward, knowing the substantial role that BMI1 plays in the formation and development of aggressive lung cancer types, the findings of this study will contribute to the development of better therapies for cancer patients.
-end-


National University of Singapore

Related Lung Cancer Articles:

AI helps to fight against lung cancer
Lung cancer has been the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in 2015 in United States.
Free lung-cancer screening in the Augusta area finds more than double the cancer rate of previous screenings
The first year of free lung cancer screening in the Augusta, Ga., area found more than double the rate seen in a previous large, national study as well as a Massachusetts-based screening for this No.
Antioxidants and lung cancer risk
An epidemiological study published in Frontiers in Oncology suggests that a diet high in carotenoids and vitamin C may protect against lung cancer.
Lung cancer may go undetected in kidney cancer patients
Could lung cancer be hiding in kidney cancer patients? Researchers with the Harold C.
Hitgen and Cancer Research UK's Manchester Institute enter license agreement in lung cancer
Cancer Research UK, Cancer Research Technology (CRT), the charity's commercial arm, and HitGen Ltd, a privately held biotech company focused on early drug discovery, announced today that they have entered into a licence agreement to develop a novel class of drugs against lung cancer.
Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Huntsman Cancer Institute research holds promise for personalized lung cancer treatments
New research from scientists at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah uncovered distinct types of tumors within small cell lung cancer that look and act differently from one another.
High levels of estrogen in lung tissue related to lung cancer in postmenopausal women
Researchers from Kumamoto University, Japan have found that postmenopausal women with multicentric adenocarcinoma of the lung have a higher concentration of estrogen in non-cancerous areas of the peripheral lung than similar women diagnosed with single tumor lung cancer.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Pericardial window operation less efficient in cases of lung cancer than any other cancer
Pericardial window operation, a procedure, where abnormal quantity of malignant fluid, surrounding the heart, is drained into the neighbouring chest cavity, is commonly applied to patients diagnosed with cancer.

Related Lung Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...