Gene Mutations Promising as a Test for Early Lung Cancer

May 1, 1995
Oncology, ONCOLOGY Vol 9 No 5, Volume 9, Issue 5

Researchers at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas reported that alterations in the genes of a section of chromosome 3p may reveal the earliest stages of lung cancer.

Researchers at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centerat Dallas reported that alterations in the genes of a sectionof chromosome 3p may reveal the earliest stages of lung cancer.

"Based on these findings, we may eventually be able to developa test that would predict who will develop lung cancer,"said Dr. Ali Gazdur, Professor of Pathology at UT Western. Thestudy was published in a recent issue of The Journal of theAmerican Medical Association.

Gazdur and his colleagues examined 24 human lung cancer specimensin the study. In the earliest stages of lung cancer, the UT Southwesternresearchers determined that genetic alterations or deletions haddeveloped in a region of chromosome 3p.

Another conclusion was reinforcement of the link between smokingand the development of such cancer. The study located gene alterationsthroughout the lung. "Our findings provide considerable supportfor the 'field cancerization' theory," Gazdur said. ""Thattheory suggests the entire upper respiratory tract is compromisedwhen exposed to carcinogens like those found in cigarette smoke.This raises the possibility that cancer may develop in multiplesections of the lung.

Finding defective genes may facilitate detection of early lungcancer, when treatment is most effective. In addition, if defectivegenes are found, but no malignant lesions can be identified, itmay allow physicians to better counsel the patient about his orher risk of developing lung cancer.

Gazdur's collaborators in the study included Dr. John Minna, directorof the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at UT Southwestern,and other investigators at UT Southwestern.

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