The research activities of the Thoracic malignancies Clinical Research Team of the Oncology 2 Unit focus on the improvement of treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), small cell lung cancer (SCLC), malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) and thymic neoplasms.
In particular, the team is committed in collaborating with national and international study groups in interventional clinical trials testing new treatment strategies in the field of immunotherapy and targeted therapy.
In addition, close collaboration with laboratory teams permits to plan translational research projects focused on the search for predictive biomarkers and the implementation of genetic characterization and liquid biopsy in lung cancer management.
The current main research topics are:
- improvement of multidisciplinary management of lung cancer, mesothelioma and thymic neoplasms
- access to wide molecular characterization and targeted treatment in lung cancer
- implementation of liquid biopsy for lung cancer in clinical practice
- study of predictive markers for immunotherapy efficacy and toxicity in lung cancer
- study of predictive biomarkers and acquired resistance mechanisms in EGFR-mutated advanced NSCLC
The treatment of advanced NSCLC has radically changed in the latest years. In particular, the introduction of targeted agents and immunotherapy has greatly improved the outcome of advanced NSCLC patients.
Next challenges are related to the search for predictive biomarkers and the study of resistance mechanisms to available innovative drugs.
In addition, specifically designed studies are needed to provide further knowledge and therefore improve the management of rare thoracic diseases and specific subgroups of NSCLC.
In this context, molecular characterization and access to innovative drugs play essential role in the improvement of lung cancer patients’ management.
Multidisciplinary management and close collaboration with molecular biology and pathology units is required to optimize the management of thoracic malignancies.
The main focus of the research activity of the clinical research group on thoracic malignancies is the development of new tailored treatment strategies and the identification of prognostic and predictive biomarkers for lung cancer patients and for patients affected by rare thoracic diseases.
The final aim of the research is to improve the outcome of patients and their quality of life by personalizing treatment strategies.
The thoracic oncology group at IOV is involved in many multicentric international and national trials focused on targeted therapy and immunotherapy in lung cancer, mesothelioma and tymic neoplasms. The group has contributed to the development of new targeted therapy and immunotherapy strategies, thanks to national and international collaboration.
In particular, the research group has contributed to the development of personalized treatment strategies in the elderly affected by advanced NSCLC, to the development of targeted therapy focusing on MET, ROS1 and EGFR-driven lung cancers, to the study of new treatment options for mesothelioma and thymic neoplasms and to the study of anti-EGFR treatment in adjuvant setting.
The thoracic oncology group also coordinates translational oncology projects with the aim to improve knowledge about predictive markers in lung cancer and finally to provide tools for treatment strategies personalization.
In particular, the group focuses on the role of liquid biopsy and tumor genotyping in lung cancer management.
The management of lung cancer and other thoracic diseases requires close collaboration with multidisciplinary team: thoracic surgeons, pathologists, molecular biologists, radiotherapists, radiologists and pneumologists are deeply involved in the management of thoracic diseases. Weekly multidisciplinary meetings are held and specific meetings for the management of MPM and thymic carcinoma are routinely planned.
This organization permits the integration of loco-regional treatments with systemic treatments and the implementation of molecular characterization in tissue and plasma in molecular practice.