SWI/SNF family of chromatin remodeling complexes uses the energy of ATP to change the structure of DNA, playing key roles in DNA regulation and repair. It is estimated that up to 25% of all human cancers contain alterations in SWI/SNF, although the precise molecular mechanisms for their involvement in tumor progression are largely unknown. Despite the improvements achieved in the last decades on our knowledge of lung cancer molecular biology, it remains the major cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide and it is in urgent need for new therapeutic alternatives. We and others have described recurrent alterations in different SWI/SNF genes in nearly 20% of lung cancer patients, some of them with a significant association with worse prognosis, indicating an important role of SWI/SNF in this fatal disease. These alterations might be therapeutically exploited, as it has been shown in cellular and animal models with the use of EGFR inhibitors, DNA-damaging agents and several immunotherapy approaches. Therefore, a better knowledge of the molecular mechanisms regulated by SWI/SNF alterations in lung cancer might be translated into a therapeutic improvement of this frequently lethal disease. In this review, we summarize all the evidence of SWI/SNF alterations in lung cancer, the current knowledge about the potential mechanisms involved in their tumorigenic role, as well as the results that support a potential exploitation of these alterations to improve the treatment of lung cancer patients.

You do not currently have access to this content.