• Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    TRAcking non small cell lung Cancer Evolution through therapy (Rx)



  • Contact name

    Charles Swanton

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    University College London

  • Identifier


  • Research summary

    We are investigating why lung tumours spread and why they become resistant to cancer drugs so rapidly.
    Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world with 1.61 million new cases diagnosed every year and is the most common cause of male and female deaths from cancer (
    Taking a sample or biopsy from just one part of a tumour might not give a full picture of its genetic diversity and may explain why doctors, despite using genetically targeted drugs, are often unable to save patients whose cancer has spread. There may also be markers in the blood that can be used to predict outcomes.
    Aim of the project:
    Investigate the diversity within certain lung cancers and the differences between cells of the tumour that allow the selection of a single cell to grow at distant sites of the body or evade drug treatment. This will be achieved by taking samples from different regions of the primary tumour and also from associated lymph glands where the tumour has spread at different timepoints (after diagnosis, and during and after treatment).
    Advanced sequencing machines in the laboratory can sequence all the DNA (the genome) of tumour cells and have shown that cancer cells harbour more differences compared to each other than similarities, in contrast to normal tissue where cells are identical. These differences provide the cancer with biological fitness and the capacity to evade cancer drug treatment and grow elsewhere in the body.
    Patient benefit:
    We know that tumours are a ’patchwork’ of genetic faults and mapping out the genetic landscape of lung cancer will increase our understanding of the origins and the evolution of the disease. The next step will be to develop drugs that limit this diversity by targeting key driver mutations that are common throughout the tumour

  • REC name

    London - Camden & Kings Cross Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    16 Dec 2013

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion

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