Grants - V Scholar Grants - Tennessee - 2015

Christine Lovly, Ph.D.

Funded by The Hearst Foundation

Important advances have been made in therapeutically targeting molecularly defined subsets of lung cancer that depend on specific molecular alterations for tumor growth. Prime examples include tumors which harbor EGFR mutations or ALK translocations. Many other potential “driver mutations” have also been identified in lung cancer, yet therapeutically actionable alterations are still only found in approximately 50% of lung adenocarcinomas. The principal objective of this proposal is to define a novel molecular cohort of lung cancer characterized by the presence of a previously unreported EGFR exon 18-25 kinase domain duplication (EGFRKDD). This novel EGFR alteration was initially detected in the lung tumor specimen from a young male never smoker with metastatic lung adenocarcinoma. In our preliminary data, we have also detected EGFR-KDD in the tumors from other patients with lung cancer as well as from patients with brain cancer. The proposed research uses in vitro and in vivo models as well as patient-derived tumor samples and clinical data to study EGFR-KDD. Findings from these studies could potentially be immediately relevant and provide a new avenue for precision medicine in these notoriously difficult-to-treat malignancies because there are already several approved EGFR inhibitors in clinical use