The role of LKB1 in lung cancer

Fam Cancer. 2011 Sep;10(3):447-53. doi: 10.1007/s10689-011-9443-0.


In humans, the LKB1 gene is located on the short arm of chromosome 19, which is frequently deleted in lung tumors. Unlike most cancers of sporadic origin, in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) nearly half of the tumors harbor somatic and homozygous inactivating mutations in LKB1. In NSCLC, LKB1 inactivation strongly predominates in adenocarcinomas from smokers and coexists with mutations at other important cancer genes, including KRAS and TP53. Remarkably, LKB1 alterations frequently occur simultaneously with inactivation at another important tumor suppressor gene, BRG1 (also called SMARCA4), which is also located on chromosome 19p. The present review considers the frequency and pattern of LKB1 mutations in lung cancer and the distinct biological pathways in which the LKB1 protein is involved in the development of this type of cancer. Finally, the possible clinical applications in cancer management, especially in lung cancer treatment, associated with the presence of absence of LKB1 are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*


  • STK11 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases