Duane Compton, Ph.D. Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D.
Geisel School of Medicine/Dartmouth  Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research  


Targeting Chromosomal Instability in Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death. Drs. Compton and Dmitrovsky collaborate to develop innovative therapeutic strategies to combat this deadly disease through minimally toxic drugs.


They exploit mutations that drive lung cancer formation and make them depend on those pathways for survival. While some mutations (like KRAS) cause lung cancers to form, others make them vulnerable to treatment.

Drs. Compton and Dmitrovsky made progress in finding a pathway targeting genomic instability that they called anaphase catastrophe. Engaging this pathway treats and even prevents lung cancers in mouse models that they developed for this work.

Clinical Implications

The collaborators moved this work into the lung cancer clinic through successful trials (Phase 0 through Phase II). This improved survival of lung cancer patients despite resistance to therapy from KRAS mutations. They are now building on this work by elucidating new mechanisms that trigger anaphase catastrophe. These can be targeted in the lung cancer clinic, as will be explored.