New Method Slows Lung Cancer Tumor Growth

Protein inhibition shows promising reducing lung cancer progression.

By inhibiting a specific protein, researchers discovered a new way to impair tumor growth in lung cancer during a recent study.

Prior research demonstrates the differentiation factor C/EBPa acts as an important tumor suppressor in acute myelogenous leukemia and lung cancer. Furthermore, the loss of C/EBPa plays a role in the development of cancers, such as hepatic, squamous cell, and prostate cancer.

Although this information is known, the ways in which C/EBPa suppresses the formation of tumors was unknown. Researchers have continued to investigate C/EBPa in lung cancer, confirming that non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) frequently expresses low levels of C/EBPa, which results in poorer survival rates when corresponding with a reciprocally high expression of BMI1.

In a pre-clinical study published in Science Translational Medicine, researchers deleted C/EBPa, which resulted in NSCLC. Through the analysis of the study, researchers discovered that C/EBPa suppressed lung tumor formation by inhibiting the expression of BMI1.

Next, researchers demonstrated that reducing the levels of BMI1 by genetic means, or by using a drug reducing expression of BMI1, led to the inhibition of tumor formation.

“The study has established an important link between C/EBPa and BMI1 for the first time,” said lead researcher Daniel Tenen. “Furthermore, these findings suggest that assessment of expression levels of these proteins could be used as a way to predict which patients might benefit from drugs which inhibit BMI1, some of which are currently being evaluated in clinical trials.”