Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world, with 2.2 million new cases and around 1.8 million deaths in 2020 alone

On the left, a stained adenocarcinoma from the lung. The enlarged section B shows healthy lung tissue, the enlarged section C an adenocarcinoma. Section D shows the PET-CT of a metabolically active central lung tumor, close to the trachea, heart and oesophagus. The irradiation dose distribution is shown in color: Desired dose 100% in the tumor and 80% in the extended tumor area. 25% and 10% of the irradiation dose (turquoise and blue lines) in the healthy tissue for technical reasons. Image courtesy of Oliver Hartmann / University of Würzburg; Thomas Fischer, UKW 

 


July 6, 2022 — Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world, with 2.2 million new cases and around 1.8 million deaths in 2020 alone. Although knowledge about the disease has improved considerably, and new therapeutic strategies can prolong the lives of previously incurable patients, the numbers clearly show that lung cancer is still a serious disease and the mortality rate is still far too high. 

To further reduce the number of deaths from this type of tumor, novel and improved treatments are needed. Würzburg researchers are concentrating on radiotherapy. In combination with chemotherapy, this is still one of the most important treatment approaches. This is especially true for late-stage non-small cell lung tumors, where treatment options are rather limited. 

PTEN Mutation is Suitable as a Biomarker 

In this type of lung tumors, radiotherapy can be ineffective. This is due to the interaction of a common, specific mutation in the PTEN gene with the DNA repair enzyme ATM, as the Würzburg team found out. 

However, lung tumors, in which this mutation occurs, can be therapeutically influenced. With two experimental inhibitors, the researchers succeeded in blocking the DNA repair enzyme in the tumor cells. As a result, the tumors became sensitive to radiation again and could be killed in tumor models. 

Inhibitors in Preclinical Testing 

"Such inhibitors have not yet been approved for use in humans, but partake in clinical trials," explains cancer researcher Dr. Markus Diefenbacher from the Biocentre at the University of Würzburg. His team has published the new findings in the journal Cell and Bioscience together with a group led by radiotherapist Dr Thomas Fischer from Professor Michael Flentje's research group at the University Hospital Würzburg. 

If the inhibitors pass the clinical tests, they offer a new opportunity: the PTEN mutation is suitable as a biomarker that indicates a tumor’s resistance to radiation. With corresponding analyses, one could specifically identify patients who might benefit from a combination of inhibitor and radiotherapy. This could be realized quickly: patients with non-small cell lung cancer are already routinely examined for PTEN and other disease-relevant mutations. 

Focus on Radiation Dose Reduction 

Currently, several clinical trials are looking at the impact of PTEN and ATM on treatment outcomes. "We are confident that our new findings will generate a lot of interest in pursuing this innovative strategy for the treatment of non-small cell lung tumors," says Professor Michael Flentje. 

Radiotherapy is a mainstay in the treatment of late-stage tumors of the respiratory tract and other organs. The Würzburg team is therefore continuing to research new strategies and targets. One focus is on reducing the radiation dose in such a way that the desired therapeutic success is still achieved and at the same time the healthy tissue around the tumor is spared as much as possible.  

For more information: https://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/en/home/ 

Related Content: 

MRI Sheds Light on COVID Vaccine-Associated Heart Muscle Injury 

What We Know About Cardiac Long-COVID Two Years Into the Pandemic  

VIDEO: Long-term Cardiac Impacts of COVID-19 Two Years Into The Pandemic — Interview with Aaron Baggish, M.D. 

VIDEO: Long-COVID Presentations in Cardiology at Beaumont Hospital — Interview with Justin Trivax, M.D. 

VIDEO: Cardiac Presentations in COVID Long-haulers at Cedars-Sinai Hospital — Interview with Siddharth Singh, M.D. 

Find more COVID news and videos 

PHOTO GALLERY: How COVID-19 Appears on Medical Imaging 

VIDEO: How to Image COVID-19 and Radiological Presentations of the Virus — Interview with Margarita Revzin, M.D. 

Find more radiology related COVID news and video

 

Related Content

Feature | Radiology Business | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane

Did you know that Imaging Technology News (ITN) maintains more than 40 comparison charts of product specifications from ...

Time August 12, 2022
arrow
News | ASTRO

August 12, 2022 — The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) today expressed its support for President Joseph R ...

Time August 12, 2022
arrow
News | Lung Imaging

August 10, 2022 — Mount Sinai is leading a team of lung cancer researchers that has been awarded a three-year, $500,000 ...

Time August 10, 2022
arrow
News | Prostate Cancer

August 9, 2022 — Bot Image, an Omaha-based MRI medical device company has developed an AI-driven medical device CAD ...

Time August 09, 2022
arrow
News | Breast Imaging

August 8, 2022 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Enhertu (fam-trastuzumab-deruxtecan-nxki), an IV ...

Time August 08, 2022
arrow
News | Lung Imaging

August 8, 2022 — Representatives from the Diagnostics Working Group of the IASLC Early Detection and Screening Committee ...

Time August 08, 2022
arrow
News | Lung Imaging

August 8, 2022 — A clinical trial is only as powerful as its participants. For years, researchers have struggled to fill ...

Time August 08, 2022
arrow
News | Proton Therapy

August 5, 2022 — IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A., EURONEXT), a world leader in particle accelerator technology, Fred ...

Time August 05, 2022
arrow
News | Radiology Business

August 4, 2022 — The Biden Administration, through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for ...

Time August 04, 2022
arrow
News | Pediatric Imaging

August 3, 2022 — The Jack Martin Fund (JMF) has built on its partnership with the Mount Sinai Health System to provide ...

Time August 03, 2022
arrow
Subscribe Now