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The World in Medicine
July 14, 1999

Lung Cancer Clue

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JAMA. 1999;282(2):123. doi:10.1001/jama.282.2.123-JWM90005-4-1

Researchers in Scotland have uncovered a clue that could lead to improved therapy for patients with lung cancer.

Traditionally, small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) has been difficult to treat because of the cells' resistance to chemotherapy. But in the June issue of Nature Medicine, researchers from the University of Edinburgh Medical School described an extensive extracellular matrix that surrounds the cells at primary and metastatic sites. After examining the matrix composition of SCLC specimens from pathology files, they found that the cancer cells adhere to the matrix via beta-1 integrin. The adhesion process activates tyrosine kinase, which suppresses chemotherapy-induced apoptosis.

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