Lung tumors, with 50.000 new cases in Germany every year, are the third most frequent form of cancer. Lung cancer has a high incidence and a high mortality rate. Together with smoking, environmental and genetic factors play a role in lung carcinogenesis. Depending on the type of tumor, various therapeutic possibilities are employed, with options including an operation, but also chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Despite this, lung cancer has a poor prognosis. Research on the subject of lung cancer should contribute considerably to improving this.
At diagnosis, 20-30% of the patients exhibit small cell lung carcinomas (SCLC). In about 40% of all patients with non-small cell lung carcinomas (NSCLC), metastases have already formed. Even in local NSCLC, the outcome is determined by the spread of micrometastases. To counter this problem, chemotherapy is combined with treatment such as surgical procedures and radiotherapy. Patient groups are selected for these treatment methods based on bodily fitness, comorbidities and anatomic decision criteria. Not included are, however, biological characteristics like, for instance, the advance of cell proliferation or the degree of spread. The outcome is therefore very variable. Identification of the relevant molecular characteristics is urgently required in order to develop suitable treatment for the patient and thus improve the outcome.
Research foci in LC are:
- the determination and significance of the crucial epidemiological risk factors,
- understanding the mechanisms of initiation, early spread and therapy resistance,
- the identification of indicatory biomarkers to improve patient stratification and thus
- optimization of current treatment schemes with individualized therapies and
- preclinical to clinical evaluation of the innovative therapeutic approaches