Pathway found for treatment-resistant lung cancer

ScienceDaily | 9/23/2019 | Staff
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Scientists at the Medical College of Georgia and Georgia Cancer Center at Augusta University have found a first step appears to be lung cancer cells expressing high levels of the molecule TIMP-1, classically considered a tumor inhibitor but at high levels already associated with a poor prognosis for patients.

TIMP-1 then turns up expression of the immune system modulator IL-6, which is already associated with resistance to cancer chemotherapy.

Levels - Increase - Face - Chemotherapy - Treatment

Levels of both increase even further in the face of chemotherapy treatment, a mainstay for treatment of the common, non-small cell lung cancer they studied.

Chemotherapy resistance is a big problem in this lung cancer type, particularly when the cancer recurs at which point it's also more aggressive, says Dr. Mumtaz Rojiani, cancer biologist.

Contributes - Rojiani - Colleagues - TIMP-1 - Cancer

To see just how TIMP-1 contributes, Rojiani and her colleagues first explored whether TIMP-1 enabled cancer cells' uncanny ability to essentially spit out a chemotherapy drug. While they didn't see evidence of that phenomenon in their studies in human lung cancer cells, they did see an increased level of IL-6.

IL-6 is a sugar-coated protein that can turn inflammation both up and down and actually has been shown to regulate TIMP-1 -- rather than vice versa -- in some cancers.

Lung - Cancer - Scientists - TIMP-1 - Lead

But in lung cancer, at least, the scientists saw TIMP-1 take the lead in avoiding cell suicide, a natural process that should happen when cells become dysfunctional.

"At least in lung cancer, we are showing that it is TIMP-1 that is controlling IL-6," says Mumtaz Rojiani, corresponding author of the study in the journal Cancers.

Time - TIMP-1 - IL-6 - TIMP-1 - Decreases

"We have shown for the first time that if TIMP-1 goes up, IL-6 goes up and if TIMP-1 goes down, IL-6 decreases ... and we have shown it in multiple different ways," says Dr. Amyn Rojiani, chair of the MCG Department of Pathology and a study coauthor.

Their work indicates levels...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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