Moffitt Cancer Center Recognizes Lung Cancer Awareness Month

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 1, 2013) — Did you know that lung cancer is by far the leading cause of cancer death among men and women? More than 228,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed this year in the United States, and nearly 160,000 will die of the disease. Roughly two out of three people diagnosed with lung cancer are 65 and older. Moffitt Cancer Center has experts available for interviews during National Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Robotic Surgery Helps Patients Heal Faster

Eric Toloza, M.D., Ph.D., and Jacques-Pierre Fontaine, M.D., are two of a few highly skilled surgeons across the country specializing in robotic-assisted lung cancer surgery. Minimally invasive robotic surgery offers physicians enhanced 3-D visualization and increased dexterity to remove tumors from hard-to-reach areas within the lungs and chest cavity. Be­cause minimally invasive surgery requires only a few small incisions, many patients who might not be good candidates for open lung surgery may benefit from the use of robotics. Minimally invasive surgery means smaller scars and faster healing, decreased pain and shorter hospital stays.

This video provides additional information about robotic-assisted surgery for lung cancer.


Moffitt Offers CT Lung Cancer Scans for $150

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has published guidelines for lung cancer screening that recommend helical low-dose computed tomography for people at high risk. This is the first approved lung cancer screening tool. Moffitt is offering low-dose CT lung cancer screeningfor this high-risk population. Scans are $150. For those who don’t meet the criteria, a physician’s order is required. Appointments can be made with a pulmonologist in Moffitt’s lung cancer program to discuss the pros and cons of screening. To schedule a chest CT screening appointment, call the New Patient Appointment Center at 813-745-3980 or 1-888-860-2778. For questions, call Cancer Answers at 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488). Visit for more information.

Treatment Available at International Plaza

Moffitt’s International Plaza location offers access to high-quality services and exceptional patient care in a smaller, conveniently located facility at 4101 Jim Walter Blvd. Tawee Tanvetyanon, M.D., has a clinic at International Plaza. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488).

Harnessing Your Immune System

Moffitt researchers are developing treatments that use a patient’s own immune system to treat lung cancer, as well as prevent its recurrence. A better understanding of cancer biology and immunology is opening the door to new therapeutic approaches:

  • P53 Vaccine Trial— Moffitt investigators have developed and tested a new vaccine usingdendritic cells transduced via an adenoviral construct with wild-type p53 tumor suppressor gene (INGN 225), based on the potential of the mutated p53 protein to serve as a target antigen for immunotherapy. Highly frequent mutations of the p53 gene in small cell lung cancer result in a selective protein overexpression in cancer cells as compared to normal cells. Alberto A. Chiappori, M.D., and Scott J. Antonia, M.D., Ph.D., are leading this effort. 
  • Anti-PD-L1 and Anti-PD-1 Trials Moffitt is offering clinical trials for patients with advanced lung cancer using a class of monoclonal antibody that stimulates the participants’ T cells to attack tumors.  These promising agents are being offered alone or in combination with other immune treatments, including Yervoy, IL-21, anti-KIR, and other immune targeted agents.
  • CRS-207 Immunotherapy Trial — Moffitt is offering a clinical trial, led by Antonia, to evaluate the immune response of therapeutic vaccine CRS-207 in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. This therapeutic vaccine targets mesothelin, a cell surface tumor antigen present on normal mesothelial cells that is highly expressed in many human tumors including virtually all mesothelioma.

Specializing in Mesothelioma

Moffitt recently opened the Mesothelioma Research and Treatment Center. The specialized program of the Department of Thoracic Oncology offers a multimodality approach with a strong emphasis on clinical research to develop novel treatments utilizing immunotherapy and therapeutic vaccines. The treatment team — Antonia, Tanvetyanon and Fontaine — has special interest and expertise in the treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. The vision of this center is to provide state-of-the-art treatment of mesothelioma to achieve a cure and restore quality of life to our patients.  

  • CRS-207 Cancer Vaccine in Combination With Chemotherapy as Front-line Treatment for Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Trial — Chemotherapy is an effective treatment for mesothelioma; however, after chemotherapy is completed, the cancer eventually grows back. Mesothelin is a protein found abundantly in mesothelioma. CRS-207 is a novel vaccine that has been shown to mount an immunity specific against mesothelin. This clinical trial is being offered to eligible patients who have never received chemotherapy for mesothelioma. Researchers hope the vaccine in combination with chemotherapy will be a significant step in successfully treating mesothelioma.
  • Randomized, Double-blind Study Comparing Tremelimumab to Placebo in Subjects with Unresectable Malignant Mesothelioma Trial — The immune system is a key line of defense against many cancers, including mesothelioma. CTLA-4 is a specific protein that hampers the effectiveness of this system. Therapy to block CTLA-4 has been successful in extending survival of melanoma patients and has been approved by the FDA. Tremelimumab is an antibody that can effectively block CTLA-4. This treatment is being offered for patients with mesothelioma who have received fewer than two regimens of chemotherapy.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery Delivers Accuracy

Moffitt’s Lung Stereotactic Radiotherapy Program offers comprehen­sive radiation treatment that combines advanced radiotherapy technology with the strength of a skilled, experienced oncology team. Moffitt’s program is one of the largest in the nation and is the most experienced in Florida. Patients benefit from the latest image-guided stereotactic radiotherapy tools that allow physicians to sculpt or shape the radiation beam, as well as change the dose intensity and angle. This capability maximizes the effectiveness of treatment while minimizing radiation exposure and harm to healthy tissues nearby. All patients have treatment with real-time daily image guidance. This computer-controlled dose delivery allows treatment to hit the tumor site with pin­point accuracy and precise margins, minimizing complication risk. This treatment is effective for primary lung cancers, as well as for lesions that are metastatic to the lung from other sites in the body.

Thomas J. Dilling, M.D., is available to discuss stereotactic radiosurgery for the treatment of lung cancer.


Clinical Trials Personalize Lung Cancer Treatment

  • Moffitt is participating in the Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium.The consortium represents the largest national initiative to prospectively examine non-small cell lung cancer tumors and match patients to the best possible therapies. The consortium includes 16 leading cancer centers across the country. The primary goal is to provide the most up-to-date care for lung cancer patients while collecting valuable information about the frequency and characteristics of abnormalities found in lung tumors to further improve patient care. The consortium is coordinated by a crossinstitutional group of researchers and the National Lung Cancer Partnership. Eric B. Haura, M.D., serves as Moffitt’s principal investigator.
  •          Analyzing tumors on the molecular level allows Moffitt to offer targeted treatments and clinical trials. Investigators are developing trials for lung cancer patients with EGFR, KRAS, DDR2, PIK3CA and BRAF mutations. Chiappori, Haura, Jhanelle Gray, M.D., and Mary C. Pinder-Schenck, M.D., are the principal investigators.

Teaching Kids about the Dangers of Tobacco

Moffitt Healthy Kidz will hold a Tobacco Dangers Seminar from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Nov. 4 at A Brighter Community Head Start, 1613 N. Marion St. Using models of healthy and diseased lungs, presenters will show the multiple health problems that can arise from using tobacco products. Children will also be asked to sign the Tobacco Free Partnership Hillsborough’s Tobacco Free Pledge. More than 2,000 children have signed the pledge since the program’s inception.

Need Help to Quit Smoking?

Moffitt’s Tobacco Research and Intervention Program will hold smoking cessation classes at 10 a.m. Nov. 7 at Moffitt’s Muriel Rothman Clinic Building, 12902 Magnolia Drive, and at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at Moffitt Cancer Center Screening and Prevention, 4117 E. Fowler Ave. The two-hour class helps participants prepare a quit plan tailored to cope with their nicotine cravings and triggers. Attendees will also receive four weeks of free nicotine patches.

LATTE Fall Forum in The Villages

The Lung and Thoracic Tumor Education (LATTE) Fall Forum will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 7 at New Covenant Church, 3470 Woodridge Drive, The Villages. Patients, families, caregivers and the public are invited to this free event. Dr. Lary A. Robinson, thoracic surgeon and co-director of the Center for Infection Research in Cancer, will present “Updates in Research: The Role of Infectious Diseases in Cancer Development.” Lung cancer advocate Larry Grimes will discuss “Memories in Motion: The Reason I Advocate.” A  Q-and-A discussion will follow. The Faces of Lung Cancer project will be on display, and educational materials will be available.

White Ribbon Soiree to Benefit Moffitt

The White Ribbon Soiree will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 8 at Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association, 619 Vonderburg Drive, Brandon. The evening of music was created by a circle of women who lost a friend to small cell lung cancer in 2012. Tickets are $75. Proceeds to benefit Prelude to a Cure, which funds lung cancer research at Moffitt.

Veterans Encouraged to Schedule Lung Screenings

In honor of Veterans Day, Moffitt is teaming up the Lung Cancer Alliance and Vietnam Veterans of America to encourage veterans to call or come in Nov. 6-12 for a lung cancer risk assessment and if needed, schedule a chest CT scan — the first step in the screening process that can save lives

Many veterans are not aware that they are among those at highest risk for lung cancer and that screening with low-dose CT scans can save lives.The Department of Defense included cigarettes in K-rations until 1976, and consequently more than 70 percent of Vietnam veterans smoked. An estimated 50 percent still do. Studies have shown that risk is exacerbated by exposure to other known carcinogens such as Agent Orange, radon, asbestos, beryllium, diesel fuel exhaust and other battlefield emissions. Estimates of excess lung cancer risk and mortality among veterans range from 25 to 75 percent.

¡Salud! Lecture Series

Moffitt is hosting ¡Salud! Serie de charlas: Avances en la prevención y el tratamiento del cáncer de pulmón, a free educational event presented in Spanish, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 23 at Moffitt’s Vincent A. Stabile Research Building, 12902 Magnolia Drive. ¡Salud! will feature health care experts discussing the latest recommendations for prevention and early detection of lung cancer, resources to help quit smoking, and testimonials from cancer survivors. 

Prelude to a Cure Spring Fundraiser

Prelude to a Cure will be held from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at Keel and Curley Winery, 5210 Thonotosassa Road, Plant City. The event features a wine tasting and music by Marty Balin, founding member and lead vocalist of Jefferson Airplane, optional wine tour and more. Tickets are $25, and all proceeds will be donated to Moffitt for lung cancer research. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 813-435-0668.  

About Moffitt Cancer Center

Located in Tampa, Moffitt is one of only 41 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research, its contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is the No. 1 cancer hospital in Florida and has been listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer since 1999. With more than 4,200 employees, Moffitt has an economic impact on the state of nearly $2 billion. For more information, visit, and follow the Moffitt momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.