Research Summary: Molecular predictors of outcome in non-small cell lung cancer

Grant Recipient: Dr. Christopher Maher
Title of Project: Molecular predictors of outcome in non-small cell lung cancer
Sponsoring Institution: Washington University in St. Louis

Currently, approximately 30% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients will die from recurrent disease despite undergoing surgery. Therefore, there is a critical need to develop accurate markers to distinguish high-risk patients who are more likely to have recurrent disease from patients who are at a lower risk for recurrent disease. To date several groups have applied high-throughput methods to identify a set of genes, or a “signature,” that will classify patients as high-risk or low-risk. However, there are two limitations to existing approaches. First, technological advances in sequencing technology offer an opportunity to identify additional markers, which would have eluded previous approaches, and therefore could result in a more accurate signature. Second, previous methods for developing a signature were developed on tumor material that is not routinely collected in clinics. This presents a critical need to develop an assay that can effectively apply a predictive signature on samples collected in the clinic. Therefore, our proposal focuses on using newer sequencing technologies to generate a refined signature for predicting which patients have more aggressive disease. We then proposed two goals for adapting this signature into a clinically useful assay. First, we intend to confirm that the predictive signature works on the same sample material collected in a clinic. Second, we intend to test our predictive signature on a completely independent cohort of patients to ensure it accurately stratifies patients with more aggressive disease. Overall, if the proposed aims are met, this research could lead to an improved assay that could be widely adopted in the clinic to stratify high-risk patients for more aggressive therapies and assign less aggressive treatments to patients at low risk for recurrence.