Targeting the Mechanisms for Treating Lung Cancer
Michael P. DiGiovanna, M.D., Ph.D.,Associate Professor of Medicine (Oncology) and Pharmacology
Dr. Michael DiGiovanna’s study focused on lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in women in the United States. His work examined the use of anti-estrogen treatments, used to reduce relapse in breast cancer, to lower the chance of developing lung cancer. Initial work deciphering the intricacies in the cell biology of breast cancer and estrogen receptors led to unexpected findings of estrogen receptors in certain forms of lung cancer. Because the growth of these lung tumor cells is fueled by estrogen, treatments for this type of tumor will likely rely on inhibiting estrogen or blocking estrogen receptors.
Highlighted Study Findings
Dr. DiGiovanna’s funded study showed that certain combination chemotherapies that target estrogen receptors were more effective against certain lung cancers in women than in men. His work has helped prompt further research on development of treatments that rely on selecting the appropriate “targeted” receptor-inhibitor combinations to treat tumors in various parts of the body. Laboratory research not infrequently leads scientists to unexpected results, and following such leads down new paths is one way important discoveries can be made. Dr. DiGiovanna’s is an example of this.