Discovery of novel biomarkers in lung cancer using an integrative genomics approach

Even though it is the most preventable of all cancers, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women. The incidence continues to climb among women while decreasing among men. About 23,300 Canadians will be diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007, and 19,900 will die of the disease. Although studies have identified genetic differences in lung cancer, genetic targets for cancer diagnosis and treatment have not yet proven effective. Rajagopal (Raj) Chari is conducting a study to examine the full range of genetic and non-genetic mechanisms that affect the DNA and give rise to huge diversity among individual lung tumours. Chari wants to identify common functional disruptions based on these differing mechanisms, with the goal of determining which changes in key genes cause tumour growth. These genes should provide effective biomarkers for diagnosing and treating lung cancer, leading to more personalized medicine targeting the individual differences in tumours.