(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – The oncogene serine/threonine kinase IKBKE is induced by tobacco carcinogens and enforcing its expression can induce chemoresistance, a study published in Oncogene online February 13 has found.

These data, which indicate for the first time IKBKE is a direct target of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), suggest that the oncogene may be an important therapeutic target. Expression levels of IKBKE were found to be significantly associated with STAT3 activation and tobacco use history in patients with non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The investigators also found IKBKE was induced by two components of cigarette smoke, nicotine and nicotine-derived nitrosamine ketone. Knockdown of IKBKE was found not only to sensitize NSCLC cells to chemotherapy but also abrogated STAT3- and nicotine-induced cell survival.

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