Short Research Communication
Section of Toxicology and Biological Work Environment, Department of Biological and Chemical Work Environment, National Institute of Occupational Health, Oslo, Norway.
Identification of genetic alterations in members of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is important as these proteins have dynamic roles in tumor progression and may serve as potential therapeutic targets in cancer. We analyzed tumor and non-tumorous lung tissue of 233 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients for the presence of copy number alterations (CNAs) in the MAPK kinase 3 (MKK3) and MAPK-activated kinase 2 (MK2) genes. We report frequent CNAs in MKK3 and MK2 genes in NSCLC. Copy number losses were detected in 31% of NSCLC tumors (odds ratio: 7.08, 95% confidence interval: 3.2-15.6, P<0.001) for the MKK3 gene and in 28% of tumors for the MK2 gene (odds ratio: 3.68, 95% confidence interval: 1.9-7.2, P<0.001). Several of the non-tumorous tissues showed an elevated MKK3 copy number, with a concurrent loss of this in 89% of the paired tumors. MKK3 gene deletions were significantly more frequent in squamous and large cell carcinoma than in adenocarcinoma. These data demonstrate a novel loss of MKK3 and MK2 genomic copy numbers in NSCLC tumors, and suggest these genes as interesting therapeutic candidates in NSCLC.
Keywords: MKK3, MK2, p38 MAPK, copy number alterations, non-small cell lung cancer.