November 29, 2018

Lung cancer survival signal

A receptor thought to be a cell growth inhibitor actually sends pro-survival signals in small cell lung cancer and is a candidate biomarker for poor prognosis.

by Niyati Vachharajani


Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) represents up to 25 percent of lung cancer cell deaths and is associated with early metastasis and poor patient survival. Thus, SCLC is in need of better therapeutics and more efficient targeted treatments.

Jonathan Lehman, MD, PhD, Pierre Massion, MD,and colleagues have demonstrated that somatostatin receptor 2 (SSTR2), considered to be a cell growth inhibitor, is highly expressed in SCLC cancer cell lines as well as in primary tumors. However, the authors found that high expression of this molecule has a direct correlation to poor survival rate in SCLC patients. They found that reducing SSTR2 expression results in increased apoptosis and decreased tumor growth.

The study published in the International Journal of Cancer demonstrates that SSTR2 is a candidate biomarker for poor prognosis in SCLC. Furthermore, SSTR2 signaling is not inhibitory in high-grade malignant tumors and instead appears to serve an important pro-tumor survival signal, thus making SSTR2 a potential therapeutic target for lung cancer.

This research was supported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation and the LUNGevity Foundation.