April 2014 Newsletter

April 2014 Newsletter - Spotlight on KRAS Mutant Lung Cancer


Table of Contents

  President Corner

Tony Mok Photo

Tony S.K. Mok, IASLC President

Werner H. Kirsten was a young pathologist working at the University of Chicago. He noted with interest that he could transmit leukemia to rats with cell free extract obtained from leukemic mice, which suggested the presence of a microscopic transmitting agent such as a virus. Subsequently, he was able to confirm this observation and furthermore proved that the same virus can induce sarcoma in rats. The key mechanism is related to a protein that regulates cell proliferation.  This marked the discovery of one of the first oncogene known to mankind— the KRAS gene. The "K" is in memory of Professor Kirsten.

The KRAS protein is a binary protein that turns "on" the downstream signals when in the activated GTP-bound state, and turns "off" when in the GDP state. A mutated KRAS gene will produce binary protein that is more prone to the "on" status, thus increasing the risk of cancer development. Over the past four decades since Werner Kirsten discovered the KRAS oncogene, scientists have linked the KRAS mutation to multiple malignancies including lung, colorectal and pancreatic cancers. We also have worked out the multiple signaling pathways that are linked to the KRAS protein. We even have developed agents that can inhibit the signaling factor along the KRAS pathway. However, we still don’t have the skill to control this binary protein. History has proven that we are not very good in controlling the "on" and "off" states of this biologic switch. We can only hope that we won’t need another 4 decades to get better at it.  (Click here to read Tony Mok's President's Corner in simplified Chinese.)


Fred Hirsch

Fred R. Hirsch, IASLC Chief Executive Officer

Dear Colleagues,

The IASLC is currently working on completion of several large projects.  The IASLC Multidisciplinary Textbook in Thoracic Oncology will be launched in May during the ASCO Annual Meeting, and members can sign up for a very favorable introductory price. The advantage is also that chapters in the digital book will be updated on a regular basis and made available for subscribers.

Our Pathology Committee, under the leadership of Prof. Andrew Nicholson, is completing the new World Health Organization (WHO)/IASLC Classification of Malignant Lung Tumors. This week, a meeting will be held at WHO headquarters in Lyon, France and hopefully the Pathology Committee will complete the final part of the classification. The WHO/IASLC classification is scheduled for publication in the beginning of 2015. The program for the Latin American Lung Cancer Conference (LALCA) in Lima, Peru, August 21-23, 2014 has been finalized. The abstract deadline is extended to June (see below), and hopefully many abstracts will be submitted. Also programs for our other regional meetings; The Asian Pacific Lung Cancer Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the North American Meeting in Chicago are moving forward.

For the World Conference in Denver, September 6-9, 2015, the Local Organizing Committee is preparing a program proposal, which will be discussed by the IASLC Board of Directors in May.  Invitations for program committees will soon be sent out thereafter. The Congress President, together with the co-chairs, Drs. Harvey Pass, Everett Vokes and James Jett, have announced several new tracks and activities at the Denver meeting, including educational tracks for community practices.

Finally, but not least, we are proud to announce that the IASLC Office have now, after a search of more than 100 applicants, filled the position for the IASLC Director of Communications, and we welcome Mr. Rob Mansheim to the IASLC Staff (see below). Rob Mansheim brings a lot of experience to our office, including experience in technical IT development, and we feel confident that Rob will be a significant asset to our communication department.  

The next IASLC Board of Directors meeting will be held May 5th and the IASLC Newsletter will bring to our members relevant information shortly thereafter. (Click here to read Fred Hirsch's CEO Corner in simplified Chinese.)

Abstract Submission Open for Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology - Due May 7, 2014

The deadline to submit abstracts for the Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology is May 7, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time. This meeting takes place October 30-November 1 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. It includes speakers from all disciplines addressing topics relevant to everyday practice, case-based presentations, posters with significant data on recent advances in thoracic therapies, and a look at future directions in the field of thoracic oncology. Visit the abstract site for submission categories and guidelines and to submit an abstract.  The meeting is co-sponsored by ASTRO, ASCO, IASLC and the University of Chicago. Visit the abstract site for submission categories and guidelines and to submit an abstract.

WEBINAR: IASLC Lung Cancer Grand Rounds Series - Screening for Lung Cancer in High-Risk Individuals: Risks versus Benefit - May 14, 2014

IASLC Grand Rounds (CME): A Monthly Series of Live Webinars. 5th Webinar: Screening for Lung Cancer in High-Risk Individuals: Risks versus Benefit in 2014 (James Jett, MD) May 14th, 2014 at 8:00 PM EST. View Details

WEBINAR: Special European Webinar: IASLC Lung Cancer Grand Rounds Series - Chemotherapy for Advanced NSCLC: State-of-the-Art in 2014- May 28, 2014

IASLC Grand Rounds (CME): A Monthly Series of Live Webinars. 4th Webinar: Chemotherapy for Advanced NSCLC: State-of-the-Art in 2014 (Georgio Scagliotti, MD) May 28th, 2014 at 6:00 PM CEST. View Details

Registration Now Open for Asia-Pacific Lung Cancer Conference

We are delighted to announce that registration is now open for the 2014 IASLC Asia Pacific Lung Cancer Conference (APLCC 2014) which will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 6 to 8 November 2014.  Register Online Now

All IASLC Meeting Information

To see the full schedule of IASLC Meetings, visit our event page.


Meet the Investigator - Spotlight on KRAS - Frances A. Shepherd, MD, FRCPC

Princess Margaret Hospital (Canada)
Specialty: Medical Oncology
Past President, IASLC

Q1: Do you test for KRAS and why?

At the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre we do not test lung cancers routinely for KRAS, although for a subset of our patients, we are performing broad spectrum molecular profiling. In this way we have identified many patients whose tumours harbour KRAS mutations. I expect that in the not too distant future, multiplex profiling of all cancers will become the standard of care, rather than sequencing individual genes one by one.  We do not test for KRAS for all patients because at this time, the evidence does not support KRAS testing to select or exclude patients for treatment. We use the results to identify patients for clinical trials of agents targeting KRAS mutant tumours.
Q2: What is the future direction for treatment of KRAS mutant lung cancer?

To answer that would be prophesy and not science. Trials of putative KRAS inhibitors have produced disappointing results to date. More recently, however, some phase II studies have appeared promising, particularly for the MEK inhibitors. However we must await the results of larger confirmatory trials that are ongoing. Recently, we also have learned that not all KRAS mutations are the same and they may not all have the same effects on cancer growth and development or on response to treatment.  (Click here to read in simplified Chinese.)

4th European Lung Cancer Conference (ELCC) - Post-Event Information for Attendees and Non-Attendees

If you were an attendee, or if you missed the 2014 ELCC on March 26-29, IASLC members can now access conference information and scientific material online.

Access ELCC Presentations/Webcasts

ELCC Featured News Articles

Event Attendees - Print Certificate of Attendance


ALK IHC Shown to Be Sensitive and Accurate in NSCLC

A new study shows that immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis is sensitive, specific, and accurate for detecting ALK protein expression based on gene rearrangement in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).  Read More


Study Clarifies Molecular Mechanisms of RET Rearrangement

Investigators have identified the molecular mechanisms underlying RET rearrangement, a genetic alteration recognized as a driver mutation in a small subset of lung adenocarcinoma.  Read More

IASLC Curricula

The Education Committee has completed a Global Curricular Framework for thoracic cancer, categorized according to relevant sub-specialties of the IASLC membership. Each of these subspecialty curricula was based on the structure of the IASLC-sponsored Textbook of Thoracic Oncology (currently in development). This new curriculum-based framework is anticipated to serve as a foundation for a "lifelong learning" culture in the IASLC. Read More

IASLC Welcomes new Director of Communications.

Rob Mansheim joins us from southern Colorado, by way of northeast Wyoming. He attended Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD and has a BS in Fine Arts and Communication Arts. He also holds an MA from the New York Institute of Technology in Communication Arts: Advertising and Public Relations, and is currently working on his Masters of Professional Studies in Strategic Public Relations from George Washington University.
He has 8 years’ experience in healthcare marketing and public relations, along with being a Federal Emergency Management certified Public Information Officer.

"I am excited to be part of this dynamic team and amazing organization. I look forward to helping promote and grow the IASLC for years to come."

textbook cover
IASLC Textbook

The IASLC Multidisciplinary Approach to Thoracic Oncology, scheduled for publication in June 2014, is designed to be the authoritative educational resource in the complex field of thoracic oncology. Led by Executive Editor Harvey I. Pass, MD, and Editors David Ball, IASLC Multidisciplinary Approach to Thoracic Oncology Textbook Pre-readsMD, FRANZCR and Giorgio V. Scagliotti, MD, this textbook is written for thoracic cancer specialists and IASLC members worldwide who are dedicated to enhancing their knowledge in an ever-changing oncology subspecialty. The IASLC Multidisciplinary Approach to Thoracic Oncology will expand on the basics of thoracic oncology as well as be a primer on new concepts in the field.  The book will be available both in print and electronically. Electronic updates will be available digitally to provide the latest scientific information and keep readers informed and current.

Healthcare professionals outside the US can now preview selected chapters from the forthcoming IASLC Multidisciplinary Approach to Thoracic Oncology book before its official release at ASCO 2014. These chapters are available as exclusive pre-reads on, a website from Boehringer Ingelheim. is a digital hub providing valuable medical information, education and tools to oncologists. Visit now to download the IASLC chapters and to explore the site.


IASLC Online Member Directory Available Now

IASLC Members can now search the IASLC database of active, 2014 dues-paying members by name, specialty, institution and location.  Members can login with their username (email) and password to view the directory. If you have forgotten your password, you can reset it.  Visit the Online Member Directory

JTO Member Access simplified through IASLC Member Directory/Login page

As a primary benefit of membership, IASLC members receive a complimentary subscription to the Journal of Thoracic Oncology (JTO).  To improve access for IASLC members, active members with a paid 2014 membership can now access the JTO via their IASLC login and password.  Access the JTO via IASLC Website

Invite a Fellow for FREE IASLC Membership

You may already be aware that the IASLC offers FREE membership to fellows, but we want to make sure that more trainees around the world in multiple specialties are taking advantage of membership. Because of the importance of young investigators to the future of lung cancer research, fellows, residents and trainees may apply for free, non-voting membership by submitting a signed letter stating the term dates of their fellowship, residency or proof of trainee status from their department. 

Fellows, residents and trainees from all specialties are encouraged to join, including those from nursing and other allied health professions. Fellow membership is available for a maximum of two years. Fellows are non-voting members, entitled to many other IASLC benefits including online access to the Journal of Thoracic Oncology (JTO). 

Please invite a Fellow, Resident or Trainee today!

Member News

IASLC MEMBERS: If you have a newsworthy item or career change you would like featured, please email Rob Mansheim for consideration.

Lung Cancer Research Funding Opportunity (Department of Defense) - Pre-Application Deadline: June 3, 2014 / Application Deadline: September 17, 2014

The Fiscal Year 2014 Defense Appropriations Act provides $10.5 million to the Department of Defense Lung Cancer Research Program (LCRP) to support innovative, high-impact lung cancer research.  This program is administered by the US Army Medical Research and Material Command (USAMRMC) through the Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). 

View Department of Defense Lung Cancer Research Program (LRCP) Funding Announcement

IASLC MEMBERS: If you have a career or funding opportunity you would like featured in a future newsletter, please email Rob Mansheim for consideration.