Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Pathways to Cancer

Gene mutations activating different types of lung tumours

30 September 2019

Pathways to Cancer

Cancer has proved difficult to defeat in part because there are many different types of tumours, each behaving and reacting to treatments in different ways. For example, lung cancer is an umbrella term for many types of tumours caused by mutations that cause different lung cells to multiply abnormally. One thing, however, that unites several types of lung cancers is their link to mutations in two molecular pathways involved in cell division – MAP kinase and PI3’-kinase. Scientists have now shown that mice with genetic mutations that activate one of these pathways individually either had no tumours or small benign ones. But if both were activated together the mice developed aggressive cancerous lung tumours, shown here with lung cancer cells illuminated in red. These genetically engineered mice could help us understand how lung tumours develop and how future treatments could target these two important molecular pathways.

Written by Gaëlle Coullon

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