Moffitt Cancer Center Participates in Nationwide Study Offering Lung Tumor Genetic Testing

January 03, 2011

TAMPA, Fla. – Moffitt Cancer Center is one of 14 medical sites  participating in a national study that offers advanced lung cancer patients screening of their tumors for genetic mutations. Some of these mutations might be targets for treatment with experimental or existing therapies.

The Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium Protocol is a federally funded study coordinated by researchers at the University of Colorado.

“There are drugs that can attack those abnormal genes, and when we match drugs to these genes, we can have results that are dramatic,” said Dr. Eric Haura, director of the Lung Comprehensive Research Center and program leader of Experimental Therapeutics, who is the principal investigator of the study at Moffitt. “We’re trying to use this data to make a decision about the best treatment a person can get.”

Identifying mutations in malignant lung tumors will help in understanding the “frequency of each mutation, its association with clinical features and outcome, and its association with other mutations,” according to the study’s investigators.

This study fits in with Moffitt’s goals for personalized medicine, Haura said. “This is the next step for the lung program’s goals of personalized cancer therapy.”

Haura noted that patients must meet certain criteria to take part in this study. A participant must be evaluated by a lung oncologist at Moffitt; have an advanced stage of adenocarcinoma of the lung; and have adequate amounts of specimens.

Susan Reader of Merritt Island is participating in the study at Moffitt. She was diagnosed in 2004 with Stage IV adenocarcinoma.

“I just felt that it was truly the most exciting, best chance for me,” said Reader, 59. “I was sort of in a really bad situation, and this gave me hope.

“I also felt that it was a positive thing to do not only for myself, but also for other people – for the future of the cure of cancer,” she said.

There is no cost for study participants to have their tumors tested, and they will have access to their results. Medical professionals also guide participants to any current clinical trials of drugs targeting specific mutations found in their tumors.

In addition, researchers at the 14 consortium sites are compiling a database. As new therapies are developed, they can contact patients to link them to clinical trials investigating their specific tumor mutations.

Lung cancer is the most diagnosed type of cancer and the No. 1 cause of cancer-related death in women and men in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.

For more information about participating in this study at Moffitt, contact Clinical Research Nurse Aaron Becker at or (813) 745-4679, or Clinical Research Coordinator Timothy Estrella at or (813) 745-3685. Additional information about the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium can be found at

About the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium Protocol

The study is made possible by a $5.2 million Grand Opportunities grant to the University of Colorado, funded through the National Institutes of Health by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

About Moffitt Cancer Center

Located in Tampa, Florida, Moffitt Cancer Center is an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center – a designation that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.