With the purpose of identifying novel targets for the diagnosis, staging, and treatment of small cell lung cancer (SCLC), a global gene expression analysis using oligonucleotide microarrays (Affymetrix; Santa Clara, CA) was performed on a large number of human SCLC cell lines and their xenografts. The expression was compared to the expression profiles of 18 normal human tissues.
The analysis confirmed the high expression of a number of genes that previously had been identified as highly being expressed in SCLC, including neuroendocrine markers, oncogenes, and genes involved in cell proliferation and division. However, the analysis also identified a number of molecules that had not previously been associated with SCLC. Several of these are expressed in low or undetectable amounts in the majority of normal tissues and, therefore, are potential targets for new therapeutic approaches. By comparison with the published array profiles of five resected SCLC tumors,1 we found that most of these potential targets also were expressed in tumors and, therefore, were bona fide targets.