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Lung cancer may be more than one disease


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Hi, I got this on e-mail this morning and thought it might be of interest for some. Barb

Lung Cancer Appears To Be More Than 1 Disease

Allison Gandey

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October 18, 2006 (Istanbul) –- A study examining why some nonsmokers get lung cancer has uncovered distinct biological entities among patients — suggesting lung cancer may have a variety of molecular origins. "These results show that lung adenocarcinoma may be a different disease in molecular terms in smokers and nonsmokers," lead author Giannis Mountzios, MD, from the Institute Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, told reporters at the 31st Congress of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO). "We chose this specific type of cancer because we know from large epidemiological studies that a significant proportion of nonsmokers, and especially women, develop it."

The investigators used tissue samples that had previously been collected from 188 patients with operable lung adenocarcinoma who had not received chemotherapy before surgical intervention. Using these samples, they studied a group of molecules involved in lung oncogenesis. These included extracellular signal-regulated kinase, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, P38, signal transducer plus activator of transcription 3, and protein kinase B. The researchers used tissue microarray technology to measure the expression levels of each of the markers.

Distinct Biological Entities

The investigators found evidence of a differential expression of molecules in the never smokers. Presenting his group's findings to delegates during a late-breaking session, Dr. Mountzios explained that P38 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase were significantly overexpressed in nonsmokers. "In fact, logistic regression analysis revealed that never smokers overexpress P38 10.5 times more than smokers do," he said. "Our data further support epidemiological and genetic evidence that lung adenocarcinoma in never smokers constitutes a distinct biological entity among lung cancer patients."

During an interview with Medscape, session cochair Hans Joachim Schmoll, MD, from Martin Luther University in Halle Wittenberg, Germany, agreed that lung cancer appears to be more than 1 disease. "This study shows that on a molecular level, lung cancer represents a variety of diseases. This demonstrates different molecular response rates and different molecular origins."

The researchers conclude, "Better comprehension of the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms may help identify potential new molecular targets for a more selective and sophisticated therapeutic strategy."

ESMO 31st Congress: Abstract LBA7. Presented October 2, 2006.

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Allison Gandey is a journalist for Medscape. She is the former science affairs analyst for the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Allison, who has a master of journalism specializing in science from Carleton University, has edited a variety of medical association publications and has worked in radio and television. She can be contacted at agandey@webmd.net.

Medscape Medical News 2006. © 2006 Medscape

Send press releases and comments to news@medscape.net.

All Sources Medscape MEDLINE Drug Reference

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thanks you for sharing this. It is interesting that the same disease could be different in smokers and non smokers. 2 different treatments for same disease based on tobacco history is what it sounds like they are saying here. Could be wrong though. Thanks again for this!!

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