Gene May Suppress Lung Cancer
In Lab Tests on Mice, Lung Cancers Were More Common Among Mice Lacking GPRC5A Gene
Nov. 13, 2007 -- Scientists have discovered a gene that may block lung
cancer development and make a target for lung cancer treatment.
The gene is called Gprc5a. It's the topic of a new study from researchers at
the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
They found that mice with one or two copies of that gene had fewer lung
tumors than mice with no copies of the gene.
All of those mice developed normally, at first.
But in the mice's second year of life, mice lacking any copies of the Gprc5a
gene developed precancerous and cancerous growths at a much higher rate than
the other mice.
Reuben Lotan, PhD, and colleagues also studied lung tumors and normal lung
tissue in people. In most cases, tumors showed less sign of Gprc5a activity
than the normal tissue.
"Gprc5a functions as a tumor suppressor in [the] mouse lung, and human
gprc5a may share this property," Lotan's team writes in the Journal of
the National Cancer Institute.
But that doesn't mean that that particular gene makes or breaks lung
Many genes are involved in lung cancer and environmental hazards --
including cigarette smoke -- worsen the odds, notes editorialist Michael Sporn
of Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H.