Mayo Clinic researchers have shown that a specific pair of proteins in smokers have potential as a biomarker for lung cancer.
"This is exciting because we've found what we believe to be a 'drugable target' here," Mayo molecular-medicine researcher and senior study author George Vasmatzis said. "It's a clear biomarker for aggressive adenocarcinomas. These are the fast-growing cancer cells found in smokers' lungs."
The protein ASCL1 is associated with expression of a cancer-causing gene called RET. ASCL1 is already known to affect thyroid and small-cell lung cancer development. But the link to lung cancer wasn't previously known.