A UK study has uncovered a genetic basis that explains why certain lung cancers are more likely to spread.
The research was published in the journal Nature and focused on lung cancers where a particular gene, called the Kras gene, changes and makes copies of itself, leading to the growth of a tumour. This happens in about 30% of adenocarcinomas, the most common form of lung cancer.
Scientists studied tumours with this faulty Kras gene in mice. They found that tumour cells with multiple copies of the altered Kras gene were able to absorb more energy from the body. The cells were therefore more able to survive and spread throughout the body. This process is described by the researchers as a ‘rewiring’ of the cells’ energy supply.
The scientists believe that this finding could hold promise for people with this type of lung cancer, as cancers with this faulty Kras gene can be resistant to current treatments. Further research into how to target the gene and stop or prevent this behaviour is now needed.
Learn about the factors that can cause lung disease and the ways to reduce your contact with them.
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