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CU Cancer Center News and Stories

Lung Cancer

Research    Faculty    Lung Cancer

LUNGevity Award Supports Ongoing Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Research

One of the reasons why cancer continues developing and growing is not just because cancer cells exist, but because they can recruit help from the body’s own blood vessels, stromal cells, and immune cells.


Author Rachel Sauer | Publish Date September 30, 2021
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Patient Care    Lung Cancer    Clinical Trials

Traveling to CU Cancer Center for a Lung Cancer Clinical Trial

David Kooyman transferred his care to University of Colorado Cancer Center member and associate professor of thoracic oncology, Tejas Patil, MD, to be part of a clinical trial to help with his rare lung cancer gene fusion.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date August 19, 2021
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Lung Cancer

Kathy Griffin’s Lung Cancer Diagnosis: What Nonsmokers Need to Know

Comedian Kathy Griffin, 60, shared the news with the world Monday via Twitter: She was about to undergo surgery for stage I lung cancer.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date August 04, 2021
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Research    Lung Cancer

Study Identifies MET Amplification as Driver for Some Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers

A study led by D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD, director of thoracic oncology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and CU Cancer Center member, has helped to define MET amplification as a rare but potentially actionable driver for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


Author Valerie Gleaton | Publish Date July 19, 2021
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Research    Patient Care    Community    Lung Cancer

From Debilitating Chemo to One Pill a Day for Lung Cancer

One of the most difficult nights of Hank Baskett Sr.’s life was the night he told his wife he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date May 24, 2021
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Research    Lung Cancer

A New Treatment for Brain Metastases from Small-Cell Lung Cancer

A new phase 3 randomized clinical trial overseen by CU Cancer Center member Chad Rusthoven, MD, and Vinai Gondi, MD, from Northwestern University, is testing whether a new treatment approach could result in improved outcomes for patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) that has spread to the brain. 


Author Greg Glasgow | Publish Date April 08, 2021
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Research    Philanthropy    Awareness    Lung Cancer    Pediatric Cancer

Golfers Against Cancer Funds Three CU Cancer Center Researchers

The Denver chapter of Golfers Against Cancer this week named University of Colorado (CU) Cancer Center researchers Matthew Sikora, PhD, Jamie Studts, PhD, and Jenna Sopfe, MD, as the beneficiaries of three $50,000 grants for cancer research and clinical trials.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date February 12, 2021
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Press Coverage    Lung Cancer

Dr. Schenk on the Evolving Treatment Landscape in Lung Cancer

Erin Schenk, MD, PhD, University of Colorado Cancer Center member, discusses the rapidly evolving treatment landscape in lung cancer.


Author OncLive | Publish Date August 25, 2020
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Press Coverage    Lung Cancer

Dr. Bunn on Data With Trastuzumab Deruxtecan in HER2-Mutant NSCLC

Paul A. Bunn, Jr, distinguished professor, James Dudley Chair in Lung Cancer Research, Division of Medical Oncology, University of Colorado and a 2014 Giant of Cancer Care® in Lung Cancer, highlights encouraging data with fam-trastuzumab deruxtecan-nxki (Enhertu) in HER2-mutant non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


Author OncLive | Publish Date July 27, 2020
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Research    Lung Cancer    Cancer

CU Cancer Center study tackles racial and socioeconomic disparities in patients with lung cancer

Lung cancer is the deadliest cancer in the United States. In Colorado more than 2,500 people will be diagnosed with the disease and more than 1,400 will die of it in 2020. While advances in lung cancer treatment have gifted many patients with more time, the benefit of these treatments is limited by the racial and socioeconomic status of some patients in Colorado. A new study at the University of Colorado Cancer Center focuses on reducing disparities in lung cancer patients with diverse backgrounds.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 24, 2020
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Research    Lung Cancer    Cancer

Chad Rusthoven, MD, awarded Coltman Fellowship to support small-cell lung cancer research

University of Colorado radiation oncologist Chad Rusthoven, MD, was recently awarded the prestigious Dr. Charles A. Coltman Jr. research fellowship award from the Hope Foundation for Cancer Research. The award provides two years of salary support to engage early career investigators from Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) affiliated institutions in clinical trial research.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 08, 2020
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Lung Cancer    Cancer

FIRE-SCLC analysis: Largest ever study of first-line radiosurgery for brain metastases from small cell lung cancer

The international First-line Radiosurgery for Small-Cell Lung Cancer (FIRE-SCLC) analysis led by University of Colorado Cancer Center researchers and published today in JAMA Oncology details clinical outcomes for 710 patients with brain metastases from small cell lung cancer treated with first-line stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), without prior treatment with whole-brain radiation (WBRT) or prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI).


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date June 04, 2020
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COVID-19    Lung Cancer    Cancer

D. Ross Camidge, MD, PhD: COVID-19 lung cancer treatment diary

March 5th: The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Colorado is reported in a young man who had been on vacation to Italy before continuing his vacation amid the skiing and snowboarding crowds up in Vail.

March 10th: While I am in my lung cancer clinic, I get an email from Harry Ren, a doctor from the Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital who had worked with us previously. He had heard COVID-19 was in Colorado. Harry warns me to wear protective equipment, to keep myself and the team safe. Over 3,000 Chinese doctors and nurses have gotten sick from COVID-19.

March 11th: The World Health Organization officially labels COVID-19 a pandemic.

March 12th: We admit our first lung cancer patient with COVID-19 symptoms – a potential “patient zero” for us. Bert, short for Roberta, is a wonderful 77-year old retired publisher, who appeared to be responding to her treatment but then developed increasingly difficult breathing and low-grade fevers over a week.1 On her CT scan there are new infiltrates in both lungs. She had received immunotherapy together with her last chemotherapy which can cause inflammation in the lungs. We send blood tests for different infections, including COVID-19.

Bert is stabilized and kept under isolation conditions. Steroids, which can be used to treat inflammation in the lungs, but which could worsen some infections, are kept in reserve while the test results are awaited.

March 16th: All my work meetings have become virtual. From our respective rooms and offices, the clinical and research teams discuss ongoing clinical trial accruals; then new and difficult cases in our weekly Tumor Board.

March 17th: My clinic has changed dramatically. I see a fraction of the patients I would normally see in person; the rest are through telehealth appointments. Our scheduler jokes that tech support for older patients has now become an everyday part of her job.

March 19th: There is little traffic and I get rock star parking at the clinic. We still do not have the COVID-19 results back on Bert. It has been 7 days since she was admitted. Her other infectious tests are all negative.

I do my usual phone call with the thoracic oncology consortium that I direct – 14 University Hospitals and Cancer Centers across the USA and Canada. Patient accruals to clinical trials are down. Everything is becoming bottlenecked. Patients are scared. Staff are scared. However, the feeling on the call is that, as doctors, this is what we went to medical school for.

Because medical situations are the explosions we run toward rather than away from. In medicine, we are used to chaos. We are used to finding and protecting the possible, under a barrage of the uncontrollable, the impossible.

On the call among my colleagues, we all feel as if we are the shepherds of our own flocks. Patients with lung cancer are, in theory, no more susceptible to catch COVID-19 than anyone else, but if they do catch it, they will have a higher risk of dealing with the worst of the symptoms COVID-19 has to offer.

I finish off the day with a Remote Second Opinion from Israel.2 In Haifa, the patient and her children are now faced with not just the stress of her lung cancer growing, but a new kind of stressor. To determine the next best treatment would require a biopsy but going into the hospital to get this done could increase her risks of COVID-19 infection. To not get the biopsy would mean hunkering down with a progressing cancer or switching straight to chemotherapy in the absence of rational alternatives. The risks they are most worried about all relate to catching COVID-19. The risks from her progressing cancer appear clearer.

There are internet adverts for virus killing light-wands. Hydroxy-chloroquine, an anti-malarial and anti-inflammatory agent, is being thrown around as a possible ‘treatment’ for COVID-19 without any debate about the source or extent of the data available to support these claims. I revisit how patients with cancer can fall prey to promises of miraculous results from unproven treatments simply because they so desperately want the good news to be true.

March 21st: I get Bert’s COVID-19 test result back. She is negative. She finally starts steroids and her treatment can move on. It took 9 days to get her results back and we can only test people who are in-patients in the hospital. Any attempt to halt the spread of the virus by isolating known positive people using these tools is doomed to failure.3 Instead we have only one solution for the entire population: Keep distant, keep clean.

March 26th: Colorado as a state is ordered to stay at home. In the Cancer Center, we set in place jeopardy and double, triple and quadruple jeopardy plans. Who covers whose patients in the event one of our lung cancer doctors gets quarantined or sick. We even establish back-ups across other tumor-types in case whole teams are incapacitated.

March 31st: My thoughts on the similarities between how we are all dealing with COVID-19 worldwide and what patients with cancer have already been through from the moment they were diagnosed crystalize after a particular conversation in the clinic. The patient said to me, “Now you know what it’s like:”

This is what not knowing whether you will be well next month or on the verge of death feels like.

This is what not knowing if you will be financially ok or ruined because of matters beyond your control feels like.

This is what worrying that every minor symptom is the start of something far more deadly feels like.

This is what consuming every piece of news, hoping for a breakthrough, knowing that most of the breakthroughs you find are not real, but you still consume them because anything is better than nothing, feels like.

This is what watching others die and wondering if you will be next feels like.

But now we have to worry about COVID-19 as well.

That same day I see Bert again. She looks great and feels great. Her treatment, without the immunotherapy, is set to continue. Life goes on.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date May 14, 2020
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Research    Patient Care    Lung Cancer

Blood Tumor Markers May Warn When Lung Cancer Patients Are Progressing on Targeted Treatments

For many years, oncologists have known that cancers can secrete complex molecules into the blood and that levels of these molecules can be easily measured. These so-called ‘tumor markers’ are traditionally associated with a single dominant cancer type, for example Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) linked to prostate cancer, Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) to colorectal cancer, CA125 to ovarian cancer, CA19.9 to pancreatic cancer and CA27.29 to breast cancer. However, the real challenge has been to determine a practical use for these markers. They don’t appear to be useful as a means of screening otherwise healthy people for evidence of underlying cancers.


Author Garth Sundem | Publish Date September 06, 2017
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Community    Lung Cancer

CU Cancer Center investigator honored for his part in the fight against lung cancer

An investigator from University of Colorado Cancer Center is being recognized for his contributions to the battle against lung cancer.


Author Cancer Center | Publish Date May 17, 2013
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CU Cancer Center In the News

The Denver Post

Wings of Hope Raises More than $100,000 for Pancreatic Cancer Research at CU Cancer Center

news outletThe Denver Post
Publish DateOctober 05, 2021

Despite the continuing effects of COVID-19, a dedicated community of supporters converged Sept. 18 for the sold-out Evening of Hope, generating more than $100,000 to benefit pancreatic cancer research at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

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Denver 7

Robotic Technology Takes Us into a New Era of Drug Discovery

news outletDenver 7
Publish DateSeptember 30, 2021

A giant robot at CU Anschutz Medical Campus is busy doing lifesaving work. Dan LaBarbera is the founding director at the Center for Drug Discovery at the campus.

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Healio

Animal imaging researcher wins award for contribution to oncology research

news outletHealio
Publish DateAugust 04, 2021

The International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine awarded Natalie J. Serkova, the 2021 Senior Fellow Award for her work in animal imaging for oncology research. “I was humbled and ecstatic to receive this award…,” Serkova, director of the Animal Imaging Shared Resource at University of Colorado Cancer Center, said during an interview with Healio.

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Cure Today

Life With von Hippel-Lindau Disease

news outletCure Today
Publish DateAugust 03, 2021

At first, Camron King’s sixth-grade teacher thought he was nervous. King had just started at a new school when he told the teacher he couldn’t read aloud from his textbook. The problem, however, was more complicated than childhood stage fright.

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