Mining the genome and transcriptome of lung cancer for clinically relevant molecular signatures

Lung cancer is responsible for the greatest number of cancer deaths in Canada. Current chemotherapy treatments are largely palliative, and only a small percentage of patients show a favourable response. Like other cancers, the progression of lung tumours is driven by a series of genetic alterations that can vary significantly between patients. The specific set of changes that occur in any individual tumour influences not only its aggressiveness and outcome, but also the effectiveness of cancer treatment. Scott Zuyderduyn will determine the genetic changes in several hundred lung tumour samples for which treatment and outcome is known. He will then employ computational and statistical approaches to determine which changes can accurately predict how a tumour will respond to different treatments. This research has important implications for determining, at diagnosis, the best choice of cancer-fighting treatment.