Grant Recipient: Dr. Balazs Halmos
Title of Project: Identification of predictive biomarkers of chemoradiotherapy in lung cancer
Sponsoring Institution: Columbia University Medical Center
The treatment of locally advanced lung cancer has not changed in the last 30 years with conventional chemotherapy added to chest radiation remaining the standard of care for the 50,000 patients diagnosed each year in the U.S. New research avenues and ideas are sorely needed. Chemotherapy and radiation act on the cancer cells by damaging the DNA; however, the cells have several ways to repair the damage and survive. Our previous studies have shown that reducing two of the ways, ERCC1 and PARP, that DNA is repaired allows the lung cancer cells to be killed more by the chemotherapy, Cisplatin. The goal of our proposed study is to determine if this combination of blocking two DNA repair mechanisms will make chemotherapy and radiation work better together. We will determine if tumors that have low levels of these repair pathways will respond better with combined chemotherapy and radiation. This will help separate out the lung cancer patients who will do well with chemoradiation treatment and potentially reduce the toxicity with treatment. Furthermore, we propose to identify if there are any other pathways in addition which allow the cancer cell to survive in the face of the chemotherapy-radiation treatment. We have preliminarily identified a protein called YAP, which allows the cancer cells to survive despite treatment. Likewise, we would determine if these newly identified pro-survival proteins will help predict which patients might or might not be helped by treatment, and if these proteins allow tumors to become resistant to therapy.