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PLoS One. 2009 Aug 6;4(8):e6533. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006533.

Following mitochondrial footprints through a long mucosal path to lung cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations are reported in different tumors. However, there is no information on the temporal development of the mtDNA mutations/content alteration and their extent in normal and abnormal mucosa continuously exposed to tobacco smoke in lung cancer patients.

METHODOLOGY:

We examined the pattern of mtDNA alteration (mtDNA mutation and content index) in 25 airway mucosal biopsies, corresponding tumors and normal lymph nodes obtained from three patients with primary lung cancers. In addition, we examined the pattern of mtDNA mutation in corresponding tumors and normal lymph nodes obtained from eight other patients with primary lung cancers. The entire 16.5 kb mitochondrial genome was sequenced on Affymetrix Mitochip v2.0 sequencing platform in every sample. To examine mtDNA content index, we performed real-time PCR analysis.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

The airway mucosal biopsies obtained from three lung cancer patients were histopathologically negative but exhibited multiple clonal mtDNA mutations detectable in the corresponding tumors. One of the patients was operated twice for the removal of tumor from the right upper and left lower lobe respectively within a span of two years. Both of these tumors exhibited twenty identical mtDNA mutations. MtDNA content increased significantly (P<0.001) in the lung cancer and all the histologically negative mucosal biopsies except one compared to the control lymph node.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE:

Our results document the extent of massive clonal patches that develop in lifetime smokers and ultimately give rise to clinically significant cancers. These observations shed light on the extent of disease in the airway of smokers traceable through mtDNA mutation. MtDNA mutation could be a reliable tool for molecular assessment of respiratory epithelium exposed to continuous smoke as well as disease detection and monitoring. Functional analysis of the pathogenic mtDNA mutations may be useful to understand their role in lung tumorigenesis.

PMID:
19657397
PMCID:
PMC2719062
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0006533
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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