Purpose: To review the evidence implicating the deregulation of cyclin D1 in the pathogenesis of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and to discuss the opportunities for targeted clinical intervention.
Methods: Data published until June 2006 are summarized, and previously unpublished results from our own research are included.
Results: In normal cells, cyclin D1 complexes with and activates cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) and acts as a transcriptional regulator. The protein is frequently overexpressed in a wide range of cancers, sometimes coincident with CCND1 (cyclin D1) gene amplification (5-20% of tumours). A low level of somatic mutations have been seen in certain tumours. CCND1 is amplified in NSCLC and cyclin D1 is frequently overexpressed in tumours and pre-invasive bronchial lesions, generally from one parental allele. Mutation analyses revealed a frequent CCND1 gene polymorphism (A870G) that modulates alternative splicing and allows expression of an alternative cyclin D1 transcript (transcript cyclin D1b). The encoded cyclin D1b protein lacks a specific phosphorylation site required for nuclear export. Genotype has been correlated with the risk and/or severity of disease or drug response across a range of malignancies, including lung cancer. Together, these findings suggest a strong pathological role for cyclin D1 deregulation in bronchial neoplasia.
Conclusion: Current data indicate that cyclin D1 overexpression is not a consequence of, but rather a pivotal element in the process of malignant transformation in the lung and other tissues. This understanding may open new avenues for lung cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention.