Cell skeleton may hold key to overcoming drug resistance in cancer

October 03, 2007

Researchers have uncovered a new way in which a cell protein protects cancer cells from a wide range of chemotherapeutic drugs, identifying a possible target for improving treatment outcomes for patients.

A team of scientists at Children's Cancer Institute Australia for Medical Research (CCIA), led by Associate Professor Maria Kavallaris, discovered that the bIII-tubulin component of the cell's cytoskeleton could play an important role in resistance to a wide range of drugs used to treat lung, ovarian and breast cancers.

Advanced non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC) account for more than 80 per cent of lung cancer cases. More than one million people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, the most common cancer in the world and the leading cause of cancer deaths. Chemotherapy remains the most effective treatment option, involving a diverse range of drugs, often used in combination. However, the emergence of drug-resistant tumours in NSCLC means chemotherapy no longer holds the promise of a good outcome for many patients.

Increased expression of bIII-tubulin has been linked to drug resistance in NSCLC, ovarian and breast cancers. In the latest Cancer Research publication, Associate Professor Kavallaris and her team showed that blocking the expression of the bIII-tubulin gene in NSCLC cells led to an increase in their sensitivity to a range of chemotherapeutic drugs.

"Our results strongly suggest that the bIII-tubulin component is responsible for protecting NSCLC cells from the action of key chemotherapeutic drugs," said Associate Professor Kavallaris.

"This is the first scientific evidence for the broader implications of abnormal expression of this protein.

"We now have new insight into a mechanism of drug resistance in NSCLC which has not previously been reported. This has important implications for improving the targeting and treatment of a number of cancers which are resistant to current chemotherapeutic drugs," said Associate Professor Kavallaris.
-end-


Research Australia

Related Lung Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

State-level lung cancer screening rates not aligned with lung cancer burden in the US
A new study reports that state-level lung cancer screening rates were not aligned with lung cancer burden.

The lung microbiome may affect lung cancer pathogenesis and prognosis
Enrichment of the lungs with oral commensal microbes was associated with advanced stage disease, worse prognosis, and tumor progression in patients with lung cancer, according to results from a study published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

New analysis finds lung cancer screening reduces rates of lung cancer-specific death
Low-dose CT screening methods may prevent one death per 250 at-risk adults screened, according to a meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled clinical trials of lung cancer screening.

'Social smokers' face disproportionate risk of death from lung disease and lung cancer
'Social smokers' are more than twice as likely to die of lung disease and more than eight times as likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.

Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.

Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.

Read More: Lung Cancer News and Lung Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.