A Translational Approach to Lung Cancer Research: From EGFRs to Wnt and Cancer Stem Cells

Adam Yagui-Beltrán, MD, and David M. Jablons, MD

Lung cancer remains the main cause of all cancer deaths in the United States. The prognosis for non-small cell lung cancer, despite advances in current therapies, is disappointing. Fortunately, we are steadily gaining significant insights into the heterogeneous molecular pathogenesis of lung cancer, which seems to occur in a stepwise manner, mainly secondary to tobacco smoking. With the emerging power of gene expression signatures for individual lung tumors and with the advancing field of stem cell biology and the paradigm of cancer stem cells, we are most certainly paving the way to developing novel tools for the early detection, chemoprevention, and treatment of these vastly morbid pathologies with enormous global burden. We will explore some of these issues and highlight how we are starting to translate them into clinically relevant tools for lung cancer patients. (Ann Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2009; 15: 213-220)

Key words: non-small cell lung cancer, angiogenesis, epidermal growth factor receptor, novel targeted therapy, stem cell

Department of Surgery, The University of California San Francisco, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, USA

Received September 24, 2008; accepted for publication March 16, 2009
Address reprint requests to Adam Yagui-Beltrán, MD: Department of Surgery, The University of California San Francisco, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1600 Divisadero St., Box 1724, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.

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