Xiangkun Han, a post-doctoral fellow, is a recipient of the IASLC Lung Cancer Fellowship Award for 2014-2015 and will be studying under the mentorship of Professor Hongbin Ji at Shanghai Institutes of Biological Sciences Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Lung adenocarcinoma (ADC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) have historically been considered two distinct histological subtypes of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, there are certain lung tumors that display both adenomatous and squamous histologies and appear to have common genetic mutations. Dr. Han will test the hypothesis that there is a lineage transition between ADC and SCC in his project LKB1 inactivation confers human lung adenocarcinoma with strong plasticity for squamous transdifferentiation. They have previously shown that in mouse models inactivation of LKB1 results in ADC plasticity and transdifferentiation into SCC via ADC-SCC intermediates. They will now examine a large cohort of human NSCLC specimens and evaluate the presence of mixed histologies in the context of LKB1 inactivation, determine if human ADCs with LKB1 inactivation can transdifferentiation into SCC in patient-derived zenograft mouse models with or without modulation of other essential genes.
Dr. Han and his colleagues hope these studies will uncover a novel phenotype of human lung cancers with LKB1 deficiency and thus create a better understanding of lung cancer biology with the goal of improving lung cancer treatment.
Dr. Han is incredibly passionate to pursue a career in lung cancer biology and related translational research and he believes that this award will be a great start for his career in lung cancer research. The IASLC award will help support this highly innovative and thought-provoking research.