Vitamin B6 marks responsive lung cancer

Many patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) quickly become resistant to chemotherapy, but biomarkers discovered through research led by INSERM--the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research--could help doctors separate out those patients at risk of resistance or most likely to respond, and those with the chance of good or poor outcomes. The results were published in Cell Reports.

NSCLC is one of the most frequent forms of lung cancer and is often linked with smoking or exposure to asbestos. Patients who initially respond to common treatments like cisplatin often relapse and become resistant. Researchers from France and across Europe screened the genomes of cells from patients with NSCLC, and found 85 factors that affect how the cancers respond to drugs, including pyridoxal kinase (PDXK)--this is the enzyme that converts vitamin B6 into its active form.

Adding in a vitamin B6 precursor meant that NSCLC cell lines that expressed PDXK responded better to cisplatin, and the patients with higher levels of PDXK were more likely to survive. This suggests that PDXK could be a useful biomarker to predict both responses and outcomes in NSCLC patients.

The marker could also help to tailor treatment, according to Guido Kroemer of INSERM: "Patients who have high levels of PDXK might benefit from combination therapies of cisplatin and vitamin B6."

- read the press release
- see the abstract