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Lung Cancer SPORE Accomplishments

CU Cancer Center SPORE members have made discoveries that have significantly shifted how people with non-small cell lung cancer are treated. Specifically, they discovered that patient tumors can be tested for a specific gene problem called EGFR overexpression, and patients who are EGFR+ can live twice as long as people who are EGFR- when given EGFR inhibitor drugs plus chemotherapy as first-line treatment.

Discoveries include:

  • 3 new biomarkers found in lung sputum that may be early predictors of high risk of lung cancer
  • A prostacyclin analog (Iloprost) may prevent lung cancer, and can reverse the lung damage caused by smoking in people who have quit
  • A specific change to cancer suppressor genes, called methylization, in lung sputum samples may increase risk of developing lung cancer
  • A new drug called CU201, a bradykinin antagonist dimer, can stop the growth of cancers with neuroendocrine features
  • The Sema 3F gene is a tumor suppressor that can stop tumor growth
  • Angiogenic squamous dysplasia is a marker of lung cancer risk
  • Transcription factors such as Zeb1 can control expression of E cadherin and that the expression of these molecules can affect sensitivity to EGFR inhibitors and may be modulated by histone dececetylase inhibitors
  • PPAR stops tumors from starting by causing undifferentiated tumor cells to revert to more normal cell types
  • Restoring the expression of a gene called Wnt 7a to non-small cell lung cancer cells reverses cancer formation through a protein called frizzled-9