The NYU Lung Cancer Biomarker Center

The NYU Lung Cancer Biomarker Center facilitates the clinical validation and application of biomarkers through our own investigations and through participation in multi-institutional National Cancer Institute Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) studies.

The overall goals of the Center are:

  • To identify and validate biomarkers for the early detection of lung cancer
  • To develop and follow a large cohort of individuals at high risk for lung cancer and other smoking-related cancers in the tri-state (New York/New Jersey/Connecticut) area
  • To describe preneoplastic cellular changes and lesions

Program members have recruited more than 1,200 individuals since 2001. Individuals are recruited to one of two different study groups:

1. The Screening Cohort includes subjects with an increased risk for lung cancer who have at least a 20 pack-year smoking history, with or without workplace exposure to asbestos, who are over age 50 and able to sign informed consent. These individuals are recruited from Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) workers who have known asbestos exposure, the Bellevue Hospital Chest Clinic and Smoking Cessation Clinics, physician referral from NYU Hospitals, and advertisements sponsored by the Perlmutter Cancer Center. We also plan to recruit workers in the building trades and plumber's unions in New York City. Controls include never-smokers over age 50 and exsmokers with less than a 20 pack-year smoking history who quit at least five years prior to entering the study. These individuals are recruited primarily from the Women's Cancer Center and Con Edison.

2. The Rule-Out (R/O) Lung Cancer Patient Group is recruited from patients who are referred for the evaluation of suspicious nodules. Those diagnosed with lung cancer provide a source of lung cancer case material. Those diagnosed with non-malignant nodules serve as a control group. Patients are handled by the Division of Thoracic Surgery in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

All individuals complete a questionnaire and undergo pulmonary function testing, multi-detector chest CT scans, sputum induction, and phlebotomy. For patients undergoing lung resections or biopsies, tissue samples are collected and banked. Participants are followed prospectively for the development of lung cancer or other cancers. The specimens obtained are banked and used for biomarker discovery and validation studies.

The goal is to use the information gleaned from the study to learn more about who is most likely to get lung cancer and to identify biomarkers that may signal which patients with lung nodules found in imaging studies require additional treatment. Perlmutter Cancer Center investigators are also collaborating with a number of biotechnology companies and other universities to develop and validate biomarkers (proteins and genes) in the blood that may signal which patients with lung nodules should continue to have periodic CT scans, which should have surgery, and which may need less aggressive monitoring.

For more information about the NYU Lung Cancer Biomarker Center or to inquire about eligibility for participation in the cohort, please contact Ellen Eylers, RN at Ellen.Eylers@nyumc.org or 212-263-6126.