Transcriptional deregulation underlying the pathogenesis of small cell lung cancer
The discovery of recurrent alterations in genes encoding transcription regulators and chromatin modifiers is one of the most important recent developments in the study of the small cell lung cancer (SCLC) genome. With advances in models and analytical methods, the field of SCLC biology has seen remarkable progress in understanding the deregulated transcription networks linked to the tumor development and malignant progression. This review will discuss recent discoveries on the roles of RB and P53 family of tumor suppressors and MYC family of oncogenes in tumor initiation and development. It will also describe the roles of lineage-specific factors in neuroendocrine (NE) cell differentiation and homeostasis and the roles of epigenetic alterations driven by changes in NFIB and chromatin modifiers in malignant progression and chemoresistance. These recent findings have led to a model of transcriptional network in which multiple pathways converge on regulatory regions of crucial genes linked to tumor development. Validation of this model and characterization of target genes will provide critical insights into the biology of SCLC and novel strategies for tumor intervention.