David Carbone, MD, PhD, Director of the Thoracic Oncology Center at The Ohio State University, and colleagues in the lung cancer field have been awarded a LUNGevity grant for innovative research to better match non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with the most effective treatments.
Dr. Carbone is collaborating on this project with Joseph Amann, PhD, Research Assistant Professor at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center; John Minna, MD, Professor and Max L. Thomas Distinguished Chair in Molecular Pulmonary Oncology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; and Ignacio Wistuba, MD, Professor of Pathology-Research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Even when NSCLC is caught and treated early in stage I or II, approximately 30 to 50 percent of patients will experience a relapse. If chemotherapy, which is toxic to almost all patients, is administered after surgery, the cure rate increases by only a few percentage points.
Dr. Carbone and his team are studying biomarkers to identify which NSCLC patients are likely to relapse after surgery, to predict who is likely to benefit from adjuvant therapy, and to suggest which type of adjuvant therapy is most suitable for each patient.
“This collaboration will take advantage of the unique capabilities of three academic research institutions to determine what is happening at the molecular level in lung cancer,” explained Dr. Carbone.
“Ohio State has world-class proteomics facilities for analysis of tumor tissues, MD Anderson has unique tissue resources and state-of-the-art reverse-phase protein array technologies, and UT Southwestern has investigators who started almost all of the world’s lung cancer cell lines and characterized them for sensitivity to a panel of standard and targeted therapies.”
The researchers will analyze tumor samples resected from early-stage lung cancer patients and will use the information to help identify molecular patterns in patients’ tissues that can predict who is likely to relapse after surgery. In addition, by studying these patterns, the researchers will look for molecular mechanisms that could be disrupted by targeted therapies in order to improve patients’ chances for survival. Then the scientists will test their findings in 400 postsurgery patients.
While improvements in the early detection of lung cancer are likely to improve patient outcomes, the high rate of relapse in NSCLC patients must be addressed to reduce the overall mortality from lung cancer. With this research, Dr. Carbone and his colleagues will be taking major steps to help NSCLC patients stay lung cancer-free.