Therapy prediction in lung cancer

Vilde Drageset Haakensen, Project group leader
Vilde Drageset Haakensen, Project group leader

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death. Treatment efficacy is currently limited by lack of robust predictive biomarkers to select the best treatment for an individual patient, therapy resistance and low availability of targeted therapies. To identify new predictive biomarkers and achieve better stratification of patients, we collect biological material and imaging data. Integrated analysis of profiling of primary tumour, gut microbiome, circulating markers and imaging markers are used to characterise patients and tumour diseases. The new knowledge and procedures will be used to enhance treatment and design new clinical trials.

The project group has tight collaboration with the lung cancer research group at the Dept. of Oncology.

Current projects

  1. Clinical trials (See Figure 1 below) 
    1. DART - Durvalumab After chemoRadioTherapy (DART) for NSCLC patients – a phase II translational and biomarker study investigating PDL1 positive and negative patients
    2. NIPU - Nivolumab and ipilimumab +/- UV1 vaccination as second line treatment in patients with malignant mesothelioma
    3. COM-IT-2 - Combinatory ImmunoTherapy-2 (Com-IT-2) - a phase 2 randomised open two-arm study to assess the tolerability and efficacy of immunotherapy combined with extensive radiotherapy for the treatment of stage IV non-small cell lung cancer
    4. PILoT - PeriAdjuvant Immunotherapy with vaccine for stage III non-small cell Lung cancer that is resecTable
  2. Translational projects exploring mechanisms of treatment response and resistance (see Figure 1 below) 
    1. Gut microbiome profiling to identify alterations during chemoradiation and immunotherapy and identify biomarkers for therapy response
    2. Immune cell profiling of primary tumour tissue by multiplex immunohistochemistry and RNA-sequencing 
    3. Circulating immune markers to study immune response to therapy and identify predictive biomarkers (profiling of immune cells and cytokines)
    4. Evaluation of dual-time PET to elucidate tumour cell composition in response to therapy for patients with pleural mesothelioma in the NIPU-trial)
  3. Drug repurposing (a CanCell collaborative project) (See Figure 2 below)
    The potential for repurposing of ALK-inhbitors to patients with ALK-negative NSCLC is studied by: 
    1. Cell line studies
    2. Cell line drug screens
    3. PDX-models
Figure 1: Clinical trials and translational studies exploring the immune response to therapy


Figure 2: Repurposing of ALK-inhibitors to patients with ALK-negative NSCLC