Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic parallels found between lung development and lung cancer

05.07.2006
Gene activity patterns provide a new way to classify tumors

For over 100 years, biologists have speculated that cancer growth shares common features with embryonic development. Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston now provide solid evidence for this idea, showing through gene-chip analyses and bioinformatics techniques that many genes that are differentially expressed (turned "up" or "down") during early embryonic lung development are also differentially expressed in lung cancer.


Genes whose activity is increased in adenocarcinoma (green circles) tend to be active early in lung development, while genes with reduced activity (magenta) tend to be active late in development.

More importantly, they show that gene-expression profiling can predict a lung cancer's prognosis, and that cancers whose gene expression pattern resembles gene expression during the earliest stages of lung development have the worst prognosis of all.

"This confirms our earlier finding of the importance of normal organ development in understanding cancer," says Isaac Kohane, MD, PhD, director of the CHIP program and a co-author on the paper. "Our observations might translate into more accurate prognoses and help us identify mechanisms of cancer growth that can be therapeutically targeted."

Lung cancer, the world's leading cause of cancer deaths, has many known subtypes, but it is commonly misclassified, delaying appropriate treatment. In addition, cancers within a subtype may vary in their aggressiveness.

Seeking a better way to classify lung cancers, Hongye Liu, PhD, and colleagues in the Children's Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP) examined gene activity in tumors from 186 patients and compared it with the gene activity that occurs during normal embryonic lung development in mice. They also examined 17 samples of normal lung tissue. Starting with 3,500 genes known to be common to mice and humans, they identified 596 genes whose activity was altered both in lung tumors and during lung development.

Using the natural trajectory of lung development as a framework, Liu and colleagues were able to predict survival in patients with adenocarcinoma (the most common type of lung cancer, and the only type for which they had survival data). Tumors with gene expression patterns most like those during very early lung development had the worst prognosis, while tumors with gene expression patterns resembling those seen late in lung development had the best prognosis. Even within a single adenocarcinoma subtype – stage I disease – survival times varied according to gene expression patterns. Gene expression patterns in normal lung tissue resembled those seen in late in lung development.

"Before, the idea that cancer and organ development are related was not quantified or statistically significantly demonstrated," says Liu. "The development perspective gives us a new mechanism for understanding cancer."

The researchers also found that one lung cancer subtype, carcinoid tumors, have a gene expression profile distinct from all the others. When biopsy specimens are examined, carcinoid looks very similar to small-cell lung cancer, and the two are often mistaken for each other, yet their life expectancy and optimal treatments are very different. "By molecular profiling, we can distinguish these two cancers," Liu says.

In addition, focusing on the 100 genes with the greatest cancer/development correlation, Liu and colleagues found three groups of genes that are involved in biological pathways believed to be key in lung cancer development, and some of the genes showed potential as drug targets. Several genes had stem-cell-like characteristics.

Liu's work builds on a 2004 study, in which Kohane and Alvin Kho, PhD (another co-investigator on Liu's study) showed that a pediatric brain tumor called medulloblastoma shares many common genetic features with the cerebellum in its earliest stages of development (www.childrenshospital.org/newsroom/Site1339/mainpageS1339P1sublevel81.html).

James Newton | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.harvard.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>