Group of researchers have identified gene called Dmp1 related to human lung cancer. They hope their study will explain what happens on the molecular level and causes this disease.

Lung cancer is among the most lethal types of cancer and every research that helps us understand what’s causing it is of great importance for developing new treatments. Some of the previous studies in mice found that Dmp1 gene is related to activation of tumor suppressors known as p53 and Arf. Scientist reckon that when this gene isn’t functional, tumor suppressors can not stop growth of the tumor by killing cancer cells.

This is a first study that showed this also happens in human tumors. In this study, researchers analyzed about 50 samples of human lung cancers for Dmp1, Arf and p53 and found that Dmp1 gene was frequently deleted and that in most cases tumor suppressors Arf and p53 were present but not active. Since there are two copies of Dmp1 (one from each parent), even when one of them is deleted, the function of the gene was decreased.

Scientists hope to find out about outcome of gene affects. They say it’s possible that by knowing which patients have this gene it could predict how would they react on chemotherapy. Also, gene Dmp1 may be a target for some drug development because it’s high amount significantly inhibited growth of some lung cancer cells.