Roswell Park Surgeon Saikrishna Yendamuri, MD, Awarded U.S. Army Grant to Study Lung-Cancer Recurrence

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

BUFFALO, NY — Saikrishna Yendamuri, MD, FACS, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Surgical Oncology and Thoracic Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI), has been awarded a $555,103 grant from the U.S. Army to develop a way to help predict which lung-cancer patients are more likely to have their cancer recur after surgery.

People with early-stage lung cancer typically undergo surgery to remove the tumor, but unfortunately, as many as 35 percent of them see their disease return. Treating these patients with chemotherapy is associated with too many complications to advocate chemotherapy for all lung patents after surgery. Therefore, finding a way to identify those patients whose disease is likely to recur is important in determining who should undergo adjuvant chemotherapy and who may avoid it.

Dr. Yendamuri plans to explore the potential of using microRNA profiling as a biomarker for non-small-cell lung cancer. MicroRNAs are small RNAs that regulate protein formation. By profiling their expression in two types of cells, epithelial and stromal cells of the tumor, separately, Dr. Yendamuri intends to develop a marker that can be used to predict whether the cancer is likely to recur. Separating the tumor’s epithelial and stromal components using laser-capture dissection, rather than using whole-tumor tissue, will be key to the marker’s novelty.

“If successful,” explains Dr. Yendamuri, “it would greatly simplify the use of this technology and help us put it into use right away, helping to guide treatment decisions for patients with early lung cancer. In addition, what we learn here about how microRNAs regulate an aggressive tumor will help to develop novel therapies for this deadly disease.”

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. RPCI, founded in 1898, was one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit RPCI’s website at http://www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org.

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Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org