Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

New Therapeutic Strategy for KRAS-Dependent Lung Cancer

By: Hillary Ojeda
Posted: Friday, September 14, 2018

Although targeted therapies have advanced the treatment of several subtypes of non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), that has not been the case yet with KRAS-driven NSCLCs. However, recent research from the University of Colorado Cancer Center (CU Cancer Center) in Aurora suggests a new treatment approach to this subtype of lung cancer may finally have been found—and it focuses on mucin production and the MUC5AC gene. Alison Bauer, PhD, of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, and colleagues published their findings in JCI Insight.

“What we’ve done here is identify that whatever role MUC5AC has in KRAS-mutant [NSCLC], it’s a bad one,” said coauthor Christopher M. Evans, PhD, of the CU School of Medicine, in Colorado Cancer Blogs.

Using two human cohorts and two animal models, the investigators sought to understand the effects of the MUC5AC on lung carcinogenesis. Looking at independent cohorts of lung cancer tissue samples in their study, they found that this gel-forming mucin was often overexpressed in KRAS-mutated NSCLCs. They noted that high expression levels of the Muc5ac mRNA were predictors for poor patient outcomes. “With a lack of the Muc5ac gene in animal models, we saw a decrease in tumor development,” explained Dr. Bauer in the CU press release.

Moving forward, “it will be crucial for [mucolytic treatments] to inhibit the detrimental effects of mucus dysfunction while preserving, or even potentially promoting, the beneficial effects of mucus on lung homeostasis and airway defense,” the investigators concluded.

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