JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Patients with a common form of lung cancer — lung squamous cell carcinoma — have very few treatment options. That situation may soon change.
A team of cancer biologists at Mayo Clinic in Florida is reporting in the Feb. 10 issue of Cancer Cell the discovery of two oncogenes that work together to sustain a population of cells in lung squamous cell carcinoma, which may be responsible for the lethality of the disease. When these cells, termed cancer stem cells, are inhibited, tumors cannot develop.
Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Fields are available in the downloads.
“Cancer stem cells are a small population of cells in a tumor that can self-renew and grow indefinitely. They resist most treatments and are thought to be responsible for relapse,” says the study’s senior author, Alan P. Fields, Ph.D., the Monica Flynn Jacoby Professor of Cancer Studies at Mayo Clinic in Florida. “If you can shut down cancer stem cells, you may be able to stop relapse after therapy,” he says.