University of Queensland researchers have presented a cellular process that can explain why people that grow to be taller are more exposed to different cancers.
A team led by Dr Andrew Brooks of the UQ Diamantina Institute and the Institute of Molecular Biosciences has shown how a growth hormone receptor variant promotes the progress of lung cancer in people from different ethnic groups.
Dr. Brooks said that this discovery may also relate to other cancers and may eventually lead to the development of new drugs to combat the spread of the disease.
Dr. Brooks said that signaling from HGH receptors regulates factors such as intelligence, Height, fertility, metabolism and immunity.
Previous genomic studies have shown that this genetic variant has increased the risk of lung cancer, and other studies have shown that if the signaling of HGH is insufficient, people may be shorter but had a lower risk of developing cancer.
The study found a mechanism by which this variant of the growth hormone receptor increases and prolongs signaling time, making cells hypersensitive to the growth hormone.
This variant is not considered a cause of lung cancer, but if you develop a carcinogenic mutation, this variant of the growth hormone receptor promotes the development of cancer.
Dr. Yash Chhabra has conducted many studies at Brooks Lab and said that smokers should be aware that having the gene variant would increase the already increased risk of lung cancer.
Furthermore, Now that the study has shown how this genetic variant relates to the progression of lung cancer, we would expect it to be included in the genetic tests available to those who want to investigate their risk of getting the disease.
It is estimated that 9,000 Australians will die of lung cancer this year.
Dr. Brooks said that of the approximately 12,400 patients who were diagnosed in 2017. Only 16% will survive five years, so a new approach to treatment is urgently needed.
Drugs that specifically inhibit the signaling of HGH are currently being developed, and some candidates appear to be working on preparatory studies with cultured cells. Hopefully these drugs will develop into new effective therapeutic molecules.
If lung cancer patients have this variant of the growth hormone receptor, we expect that such drugs will delay the progression of lung cancer, but this of course depends on a long clinical trial process to confirm the efficacy of this approach.