Lung Adenocarcinoma Is Most Common Type Of Lung Cancer

Known for its poor prognosis, lung adenocarcinoma is the most common type of lung cancer, responsible for about 4 of 10 diagnoses, according to the National Cancer Institute. Researchers on Mayo Clinic’s Florida campus can now distinguish between two pathways where this deadly cancer can develop. They say their discovery could help future patients. The findings appear in Cancer Cell.

“The ability to identify the specific pathway by which a patient’s lung adenocarcinoma came about increases our ability to predict which patients are likely or unlikely to benefit from a particular treatment; also hopefully offer alternative options to patients whose cancer subtype is unlikely to respond,” says Alan Fields, Ph.D., a cancer biologist and the study’s senior author. Dr. Fields is the Monica Flynn Jacoby Professor of Cancer Research at Mayo Clinic.

The molecular features

Researcher and his team studied the molecular features of lung adenocarcinoma in mice and find two ways that this cancer can develop. The first way depends on the cancer causing gene know as “protein kinase C iota (PKCiota).” The second pathway, identified as the “Wnt/Beta-catenin signaling pathway,” was find to operate independently of PKCiota. Lung adenocarcinomas that stem from the two different pathways were also find to form in different regions of the lung and through different cells of origin.

Once these two pathways were revealed, Dr. Fields and colleagues consider; how their discovery may apply to people. To begin, they compared the pathways in the mouse model to the six known molecular sub types of this cancer in humans. The scientists find a match: a molecular marker that allow them to predict; which human lung adenocarcinoma cells originate from the PKCiota independent pathway that they’d discovered.

Growth of lung cancer

To test whether the tumors arising from the PKCiota dependent and independent pathways; which might be sensitive to specific cancer therapies, Dr. Fields’ team then conducted an experiment on human cells and the mouse model. As hypothesized, they find that two drugs affected the adenocarcinoma subtypes differently; so depending on their underlying pathway. These results suggested to the investigators that they can predict how these cancer subtypes will respond to targeted therapies.

So the next step, the team will work to determine whether; they can effectively and specifically identify PKCiota-dependent versus independent lung adenocarcinoma in human patients and confirm whether experimental drugs; which can predictably inhibit the growth of lung cancer in the PKCiota-dependent and independent patients. Because the PKCiota pathway is also important to other cancers; so the researchers think that their findings may apply beyond lung cancer. This work builds on previous efforts by Dr. Fields and colleagues, who were the first to discover the connection between PKCiota; also the initiation, promotion and spread of lung cancers.