Researchers find possible new molecular target for lung cancer treatment

November 2, 2016

Dr. Jim Dimitroulakos and his team have found a potential target that could boost the effectiveness of the most common treatment for non-small cell lung cancer. Chemotherapy drugs called platins are currently the best treatment for this deadly cancer. However, they only extend survival by about eight months, often with severe side-effects. In addition, 40-50 percent of these cancers are resistant to platins. A better understanding of how platins work could help increase their effectiveness. In results published inNeoplasia, Dr. Dimitroulakos and his team found that a gene called Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) plays an important role in driving tumour cell killing by platins. Combining platins with other drugs that increase ATF3 levels could lead to even more tumour cell killing, which could be a potential new combination approach to treating non-small cell lung cancer. The team will also test whether ATF3 can help identify platin-resistant tumours even before a patient receives treatment, so they can be directed to other therapies.

Co-authors: Jair Bar, Mohamed S. Hasim, Tabassom Baghai, Nima Niknejad, Theodore J. Perkins, David J. Stewart, Harmanjatinder S. Sekhon, Patrick J. Villeneuve, and Jim Dimitroulakos

Funders: Cancer Research Society, Canadian Institute for Health Research, Lung Cancer Research Foundation, Joan Sealy Trust, Prostate Cancer Fight Foundation

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