Research Summary: A system biology approach to biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer

Grant Recipient: Dr. Suzanne Miyamoto
Title of Project: A system biology approach to biomarkers for early detection of lung cancer
Sponsoring Institution: University of California Davis

Lung cancer is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Contributing to the lethality of this disease is our inability to detect treatable early stage lung cancer resulting in the majority of lung cancer patients being diagnosed with incurable advanced disease. Computerized tomography (CT) screening has shown promising preliminary results in the detection of early stage lung cancer (with a 20% reduction in lung cancer mortality); however, it remains to be determined how it will be incorporated into standard practice. Biomarker-based screening methods that complement CT – and that are accessible to all current and former smokers – will be vital to making early lung cancer detection more attractive. Our goal at UC Davis is to combine our multidisciplinary leaders in lung cancer practice and research (Drs. Kelly, Gandara, Cooke, Yoneda and Murin) with “omics” experts (Drs. Miyamoto, Fiehn, and Lebrilla), who have developed sensitive technologies to detect and analyze sugars, lipids, and metabolites in human specimens, to identify blood biomarkers for early stage lung cancer that can be used in conjunction with CT screening. We will examine biomarker compositions of tumor tissue, non-malignant tissue, and blood in cancer patients, healthy controls and patients with benign lung nodules, to ultimately identify easily detectible blood markers that: 1) will detect early stage cancer and 2) are sensitive and specific. Such biomarkers will contribute to earlier, more informative lung cancer detection and make tailored lung cancer therapy and increased cure rates possible.