Researchers have identified protein signatures in mouse blood that reflect lung cancer biology in humans. The research may lead to better monitoring of tumor progression as well as blood-based early detection strategies for human lung cancer, according to the findings published in the journal Cancer Cell.

According to Samir M. Hanash, MD, PhD, senior study author from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, the researchers “applied a comparative strategy of genetically engineered mouse models of cancer and integrated data at the genome and protein levels to uncover lung cancer signatures in blood samples that reflect different types of lung cancer or that reflect signaling pathways driving tumor development.”

To identify blood-protein signatures common to lung cancer, the researchers looked at the proteins in the blood plasma of several different mouse lung tumor models and compared the proteins with those in models of other types of tumors. The researchers identified individual protein signatures for molecularly distinct types of lung cancer and discovered that the networks of proteins provided insight into the genes that drive tumor development. Further, they identified proteins which were restricted to the blood samples from the lung cancer models and were not previously linked with lung cancer.

Explaining the relevance of the protein signatures identified in the mouse models to human lung cancer, Hanash said, “We obtained evidence for concordant findings in human lung cancer cell lines and in plasmas collected from subjects with lung cancer at the time of diagnosis and in blood samples collected from asymptomatic subjects prior to diagnosis. These findings point to the power of integrating multiple types of studies and data to uncover lung cancer markers and may lead to early detection strategies for humans as well as strategies for monitoring tumor status in patients with the disease.”

Source: Cell Press