Int. J. Dev. Biol. 59: 119 - 129 (2015)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.150044bz
© UPV/EHU Press

Cell death in cancer therapy of lung adenocarcinoma

Anna Zagryazhskaya1, Katarina Gyuraszova1,2 and Boris Zhivotovsky*,1,3

1Institute of Environmental Medicine, Division of Toxicology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, 2Institute of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Science, Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice, Košice, Slovakia and 3Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia

ABSTRACT Lung cancer is the main cause of all cancer-related deaths in the world, with lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) being the most common subtype of this fatal disease. Lung ADC is often diagnosed at advanced stages involving disseminated metastatic tumors. This is particularly important for the successful development of new cancer therapy approaches. The high resistance of lung ADC to conventional radio- and chemotherapies represents a major challenge to treatment effectiveness. Here we discuss recent progress in understanding the mechanisms of ADC’s broad resistance to treatment and its possible therapeutic implications. A number of driving oncogenic alterations were identified in a subset of lung ADCs, making them suitable for targeted therapies directed towards specific cancer-associated molecular changes. In addition, we discuss the molecular aberrations common in lung ADC that are currently being exploited or are potentially important for targeted cancer therapy, as well as limitations of this type of therapy. Furthermore, we highlight possible treatment modalities that hold promise for overcoming resistance to targeted therapies as well as alternative treatment options such as immunotherapies that are potentially promising for improving the clinical outcome of lung ADC patients.

Keywords:

cell death, apoptosis, lung adenocarcinoma, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy

*Corresponding author e-mail: Boris.Zhivotovsky@ki.se