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New Gene Mutations Linked to Lung Adenocarcinoma

Discovery of mutations in 26 suspect genes could lead to development of more targeted therapies

THURSDAY, Oct. 23 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with lung adenocarcinoma, 26 genes are frequently mutated and several molecular pathways underlie most of the mutations, a discovery that could lead to more targeted therapies, according to a study published in the Oct. 23 issue of Nature.

Richard K. Wilson, Ph.D., director of Washington University's Genome Sequencing Center in St. Louis, and colleagues from the Tumor Sequencing Project analyzed 623 suspect genes in lung cancer samples donated by 188 patients.

The researchers found that a significant number of samples contained mutations of 26 suspect genes, most of which had not previously been associated with lung cancer. Among them were mutations in neurofibromastosis 1, ataxia telangiectasia mutated, retinoblastoma 1, and adenomatosis polyposis coli. The investigators also found that more than 70 percent of the tissue samples contained at least one mutation affecting the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway and that more than 30 percent had mutations affecting the rapamycin pathway.

"This genomic approach has given us a completely different view of lung cancer," Wilson said in a statement. "This broad view will allow scientists to more accurately categorize tumors, which should speed efforts to develop more targeted therapies to fight the disease."

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