Ann Thorac Surg 2006;81:1042
© 2006 The Society of Thoracic Surgeons
Original article: General thoracic
Scott Swanson, MD
Mt Sinai Medical Center, 1190 5th Ave, New York, NY 10029
The article by Mukhopadhyay and colleagues  investigates the mechanism for a potential new lung cancer treatment. Four nonsmall cell lung cancer lines and a normal lung fibroblast cell line were treated with Trichostatin A, a known anti-fungal agent and histone deacetylase inhibitor. The investigators find that there is a 10-fold difference in concentration necessary for cell death between the cancer cells and the normal cells, thus opening a potential therapeutic window for this drug. Furthermore they carefully investigate the mechanism for this effect suggesting that the gene p21 may play a pivotal role.
Clearly this work is early in its development and whether Trichostatin A becomes an effective treatment for human lung cancer is difficult to predict. With the advent of newer molecular biologic techniques, we can more easily investigate potential cancer pathways. Further studies to elucidate which genes are involved in the cell death witnessed with the use of Trichostatin A are now readily accomplished using microarray analysis. This development (ie, moving from observation to molecular mechanism) is easier and less labor intensive, and will accelerate major advances in cancer. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, such advances in molecular biology will permit surgeons to stay at the forefront of this critical research, for it is the surgical investigator who makes the observation that triggers the pertinent question, and it is the surgeon who has the most passionate interest of the patient in mind.
- Mukhopadhyay NK, Weisberg E, Gilchrist D, Bueno R, Sugarbaker DJ, Jaklitsch MT, et al. Effectiveness of trichostatin A as a potential candidate for anticancer therapy in non-small-cell lung cancer Ann Thorac Surg 2006;81:1034-1042.[Abstract/Free Full Text]