LUNG, HEAD & NECK CANCERS PROGRAM (Project-534) ABSTRACT Overview and Goals: The Lung, Head and Neck Cancer (LHN) Program unites scientists focused on malignancies of lung and head and neck with the goal to decrease the incidence, morbidity and mortality of lung and head and neck cancer. Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in the UCCC catchment area while HNC causes significant morbidity and mortality. The smoking rate in Colorado is lower than the national average but still causes the majority of LHN cancers, however, non-smoking related cancers in young, particularly female, patients are rising. Thus, research in the LHN program focuses on tumors caused by tobacco as well as other etiologies (non-smoking related driver mutations and human papilloma virus (HPV)). Program research falls into 3 areas: Risk, Early Detection and Chemoprevention; Tumor Genetics and Biology; and Experimental Therapeutics. Research Highlights: Research initiatives directly translated to our catchment area include development and validation of biomarkers to inform management of CT detected lung nodules; investigation of the biology of premalignant lesions to define risk of progression to cancer; chemoprevention of lung cancer and HNC; discovery of targetable mutations with translation to clinical trials; defining tumor vulnerabilities and mechanisms of resistance; developing biomarkers to provide personalized treatment; discovering the pathogenesis of HPV-associated HNC; and translating new approaches to decrease treatment side effects and improve survivorship. Program Activities: The program fosters interactions through seminars, retreats and training bringing together basic and clinical scientists in collaborative projects. Pilot grants through the UCCC, Lung SPORE and developing HNC SPORE support promising research initiatives. UCCC Shared Resources that are highly utilized by program members include Flow Cytometry, Genomics, Molecular Pathology, Biostatistics/Bioinformatics and Tissue Biobanking and Processing. Program leaders and members mentor young investigators through Career Enhancement Programs in the Lung and developing HNC SPOREs; the UCCC K12; the VA Career Development Program; the NCI T32 developed and led by the Program Leaders; and an NHLBI Pulmonary Sciences T32. Members: The LHN program is comprised of 22 Full and 27 Associate members, from 2 consortium institutions (UCD and VA) and appointed in the Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine and Public Health at UCD. LHN members hold $3.3M ($1.3M NCI) in peer-reviewed cancer research funding in 2015 and produced 362 cancer-focused publications since 2011, of which 49% were inter- and 30% intra-programmatic, exemplifying the highly interactive nature of the LHN program. Future Directions: The LHN program will further enhance early detection, prevention and biomarker research in lung cancer and HNC and improve the integration of clinical and molecular diagnosis and targeted therapies for LHN cancer patients. We also intend to enhance research in HPV-related HNC and encourage increased research in immunotherapy.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Subcommittee H - Clinical Groups (NCI)
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University of Colorado Denver
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