Lechner, J. F., Fugaro, J. M., Wong, Y., Pass, H. I., Harris, C. C. and Belinsky, S. A. Perspective: Cell Differentiation Theory May Advance Early Detection of and Therapy for Lung Cancer.
Worldwide, 1,000,000 people succumb to lung cancer annually. Many of these deaths could be prevented if there were better screening methods to uncover the disease when it is limited and most responsive to intervention. Novel biomarkers of early-stage disease are therefore needed. By applying the principle of “oncology recapitulates ontogeny”, we have discovered three homeobox (HOX) genes that are inappropriately expressed in the majority of lung tumors. Understanding the role of these inappropriately expressed genes in lung epithelial cell carcinogenesis may not only augment early detection, but may also offer new avenues of treatment of this disease.