Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) inhibits nuclear factor erythroid 2-related 2 (NEF2L2; also named NRF2)-induced cytoprotection and has been hypothesized to represent a candidate tumor suppressor. We have previously reported the somatic mutations of the NRF2 gene (NFE2L2), however, the correlation between the Keap1 mutation and the clinicopathological features of lung cancer has not been well investigated. Therefore, in the present study, the Keap1 mutational status in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients was investigated by reverse transcription PCR and direct sequencing. The study included 76 surgically-removed lung cancer cases from patients of the Nagoya City University Hospital in which the EGFR and NFE2L2 mutation status was already established. Keap1 mutations were identified in 2 (2.6%) adenocarcinoma patients with a history of heavy smoking. These mutations were identified to exist exclusively. The Keap1 mutation was only detected in patients with advanced adenocarcinoma (4.3%) and the completely exclusive status of this mutation and others, including EGFR, Kas, erbB2 and NRF2L2, is likely to improve the selection of personalized therapy for lung cancer.
Keywords: Keap1; NRF2; adenocarcinoma; lung cancer; mutations.