Basic Research

Recent developments in DNA sequencing have made it possible for us to characterise mutations throughout the genome of a lung tumour. Our current work in this area aims to find tumour-associated mutations which may influence a patients outcome after surgery. Preliminary findings were presented at the World Conference on Lung Cancer (Amsterdam 2011, 'Second-Generation Sequencing of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Identification of mutations associated with progressive disease').


The importance of microRNAs (miRNAs or MiRs) in cancer has only recently been discovered, but already there are indications that these small molecules may be exploited as biomarkers of disease and targets of treatment.

We are currently investigating which miRNAs are found in lung tumours, as opposed to normal lung tissue. We hope to use these to detect lung cancers early, before they are clinically evident, or as an adjunct to CT screening to better define the nature of detected lung nodules.

We are also looking at patterns of miRNAs that are related to the severity of lung cancer, how soon the cancer progresses. These might help doctors distinguish patients requiring more intensive treatment, or point towards specific types of treatment.

Having already identified some potential miRNA biomarkers, we are now validating these in larger numbers of lung cancers. Those that we confirm as being specific for lung cancer, we will also measure in blood, sputum and bronchial washings in order to produce tests that could be used to identify cancer in high-risk individuals, without the need for biopsy. As highlighted in the IASLC Biomarker Workshop we organised preceding the 2011 World Conference on Lung Cancer, such markers are particularly needed in the follow-up of lung nodules detected by CT screening, such as that being piloted by the UKLS trial.


Professor John K. Field
Research Director

Tel:  0151 794 9113

Dr Triantafillos Liloglou
Lecturer, Biomarkers and Clinical Resources Group

Tel:  0151 794 9121

Janet Farley (job share with Gaynor Hunt)
Study Co-ordinator

Tel:   0151 794 9107

Designed & Developed By: AN Computing