Lung Cancer Study Presented at International Conference
A first-of-its-kind study of a patient with lung cancer who never smoked was presented by Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center and TGen researchers July 6, 2011 at the 14th World Conference on Lung Cancer in Amsterdam.
For the first time, researchers sequenced the entire DNA and RNA of a patient with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the lung, said Dr. Glen Weiss, the first author of the study, which will be published in a special supplement of the Journal of Thoracic Oncology.
Dr. Weiss is director of Thoracic Oncology at Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials, a partnership between TGen and Scottsdale Healthcare that treats cancer patients with promising new drugs.
The patient is a 61-year-old woman who never smoked. Her lung cancer had entered her bloodstream and spread to other parts of her body. She had been treated with several types of chemotherapy.
The study, Advanced Never Smoker Adenocarcinoma of the Lung: Report of paired normal and tumor whole genome and transcriptome sequencing, used Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS), also called Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), to look at all 3 billion chemical bases of the patient’s normal DNA, as well as her tumor’s DNA.
The study went further by examining the normal and tumor RNA for whole transcriptome sequencing, which can reveal the possible defects in how proteins are synthesized. This provided an even more intricate view of the tumor’s biological make-up and what might have led to her cancer.
The results of the patient’s sequencing were discussed with her treating oncologist and may be used along with other information to help decide the best course of future treatment.
A review of well-characterized cancer-related genes found that a mutation resided in the TP53 gene, a mutation in the tumor (one base change in the genetic code), and that the mutation was always present in both the DNA and RNA. Such a mutation can halt the creation of tumor suppressor genes and result in the generation of a tumor. Interestingly, the cancer specimen showed no loss of heterozygosity (LOH), in which one side of the DNA’s chromosome becomes inactive because of a mutation.
“In the future, with improved infrastructure and decreased costs, we anticipate that using NGS techniques will become more commonplace,” Dr. Weiss said. “NGS has the potential to identify unique tumor aberrations at an unprecedented depth.”