Genetic testing could predict potential for cancerous growths to become invasive lung cancer

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A type of non-invasive cancer called carcinoma in situ (CIS) can occur in the human lung. Some cases of CIS will progress to form an invasive type of cancer known as lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC), but until now no method had been developed that could reliably identify which CIS growths would progress. Writing in Nature Medicine, Teixeira et al. report their analyses of CIS samples from human lung tissue and the identification of a set of genomic alterations that can be used to predict whether CIS is likely to progress to form an invasive tumour.

[T]he authors found that, overall, the progressive samples had significantly more mutations and more alterations in the number of copies of some genes than the regressive samples had. The most striking finding was that, unlike the regressive samples, almost all of the progressive samples had mutations in the gene TP53— a tumour-suppressor gene.

Related article:  Viewpoint: Sweeping impact of gene editing demands better way to educate the public

Teixeira and colleagues’ work offers a glimpse of a future in which precancerous growths that look similar under the microscope could be evaluated on a molecular level to accurately estimate the likelihood that they will develop into invasive cancer.

2-24-2019 cells
Hallmarks of invasive lung tumours. a, A type of abnormal cellular growth called carcinoma in situ (CIS) can occur in the human lung. b, c, Lung CIS can regress or it can progress to form a malignant invasive cancer known as lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC). Image credit: Nature

Read full, original post: Genetic clues can be used to predict whether early-stage cancer will form an invasive tumour

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