Non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) accounts for about 87% of all lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer-related death for men and women with an overall 5 year survival rate of 10-15%. Efforts to improve the survival of NSCLC patients are currently focused on the development of new target-based therapies directed against key signaling pathways involved in lung cancer growth and malignant progression. A successful example of this approach has been the development of therapies targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in NSCLC. Patients with EGFR activating mutations (which account for about 10%-15% of NSCLC) receive tremendous benefit from EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy and are thought to represent the majority of patients who benefit from EGFR-directed therapies. Patients with tumors containing Exon 19 EGFR mutations have longer survival time following treatment. One of the main barriers to these targeted therapies is obtaining easily accessible high-quality nucleic acids for diagnostic analysis. Recently, our collaborator showed that thrombocytes (platelets) can be used as a novel source of high-quality tumor-derived (mutant) RNAs. This intriguing finding meets current requirements for diagnostics since the method is easy, non-invasive and suitable for detecting tumor-derived RNAs in various cancer types. In this study, we will explore blood platelets as a source for detection of NSCLC predictive/responsive biomarkers.
In this proposal, we will explore blood platelets as a robust source for NSCLC mutant RNAs predictive biomarkers. This technology could be easily adapted into the clinical laboratory and can help advancing NSCLC biomarkers detection and guiding personalized therapy