Work on tissue bank will aid lung cancer testing

By Staff


More than a half-dozen groups of researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center have promising tests for early diagnosis of lung cancer. In order to validate the developing tests — which include finding elevated levels of lung cancer markers in sputum, blood and exhaled breath — researchers require a broad collection of tissues as well as knowledge of the clinical outcomes of patients who donated them.

A new tissue banking protocol to collect specimens from patients at two Denver lung nodule clinics will help in that mission. It's being worked on by York Miller, M.D. (UCCC lung/head and neck cancer program/School of Medicine pulmonary and critical care medicine/Denver Veterans Administration) and Lung SPORE collaborators including Stephen Malkoski, M.D., and Rob Winn, M.D., (UCCC lung/head and neck cancer program/School of Medicine pulmonary and critical care Medicine).

The Denver VA has had a dedicated lung nodule clinic for years, and the University of Colorado Hospital opened up a similar clinic in May 2009. National Jewish Health also has a lung nodule clinic and might participate in the future.

Both clinics are multidisciplinary, attended by pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons. And both clinics are key referral centers for primary care physicians and pulmonologists who want their patients to be worked up or followed carefully after finding a lung lesion via CT scan.

Miller says there's a need to collect samples from patients at high-risk for developing lung cancer when the nodule is identified, so the nodule clinics are the perfect place for patient recruitment.

The lung nodule trial aims to enroll about 400 patients, collecting samples from patients over the course of a few years as they are biopsied and/or followed up with additional CT scans. The tissue will be collected in the UCCC Lung SPORE tissue bank and made available to researchers via the usual tissue bank mechanism.