TCGA's Study of Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma
What is lung cancer?
Lung cancer accounts for more deaths than any other cancer in both men and women, about 28% of all cancer deaths. In 2010, an estimated 222,520 Americans were expected to have been diagnosed with lung cancer and 157,300 were expected to have died from their disease.1 The prognosis for lung cancer is poor; most lung cancer patients are diagnosed with advanced cancer and only 16% of patients will survive for five years after their diagnosis. TCGA researchers studied the most common type of lung cancer called non-small cell lung cancers. Specifically, the subtypes are called lung adenocarcinoma and lung squamous cell carcinoma. Additional information on lung cancer.
What have TCGA researchers learned about lung squamous cell carcinoma?
- Promising therapeutic targets in lung squamous cell carcinoma were identified, including:
- Three families of tyrosine kinases, frequently mutated enzymes that act as on or off switches for many cellular functions
- Two gene families called ERBBs and FGFRs, both of which provide instructions for making growth factor receptors, which are key for cell growth and division
- A family of kinases called JAKs, important components in a pathway that regulates DNA transcription
- Key tumor suppressor genes are altered in a majority of tumors:
- TP53 was altered in 90% of samples.
- CDKN2A was inactivated in 72% of tumor samples.
- Inactivating mutations in HLAA, a gene that normally helps the body watch out for mutated cells, are common in the disease.
- Four subtypes of lung squamous cell carcinoma were molecularly described.
1American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2010. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, 2010.