Cancer researchers at Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia, are gathering further evidence that damage to the human retinoblastoma-related gene, Rb-2/p130, a powerful tumor-suppressor, may lead to lung cancer.
They had previously suggested that damage to the Rb gene from cigarette smoke, air pollution and other toxins may lead to lung cancer. Such damage prevented the gene from making a key protein, pRb-2/p130, which suppresses tumor formation. They also saw evidence that levels of the protein correlated with tumor aggressiveness. This new work strengthens that finding.
We looked at 158 lung cancer patient samples, and saw a strong correlation between low levels of the protein and aggressive and metastasizing lung cancer, said Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology, anatomy, and cell biology, who led the work.
The research may lead to a new lung cancer tumor-grading test to enable physicians to determine how much Rb-2/p130 protein is found in individual lung cancer patients. This information can help physicians begin treatments earlier, and tailor them to specific patients, depending on how aggressive the cancer is.
Now a tumor grading test is much closer to reality, said Giordano, who is also president of the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, which is affiliated with the college.
Of particular importance, he noted, was the strong
relationship between protein levels and the amount that the
cancer spread. "We not only found the confirming
relationship between aggressiveness of the tumor and
decreasing Rb2 protein, but also with the degree of
metastasis," he said. Giordano and his colleagues at
Jefferson and at the Second University of Naples report their
findings in the October i
Contact: Steve Benowitz
Thomas Jefferson University