Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from neoplasia in the world as well as Taiwan. Lung cancer tends to metastasize very early in its course and is one of the most difficult cancers to treat. To better develop early diagnostic makers and therapeutic targets for lung cancer, we are interested in investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying lung cancer initiation, progression, and metastasis. The major research directions in our laboratory are described as follows:
- Deregulated EGFR signaling: Deregulated expression of EGFR together with ligand binding and concomitant receptor activation has been indicated as the key driver of lung tumorigenesis. We have discovered that deregulated EGFR signaling activates several novel transcriptional factors and microRNAs, which contribute to abnormal cell proliferation and invasions of lung cancer.
- Cancer stem/initiating cells: By screening molecules involved in metastasis of lung cancer cell lines, we found that several stemness factors, which maintain self-renewal and pluripotency of embryonic stem cells, are highly expressed in lung cancer. We are studying how lung cancer hijacks the embryonic stem cell program to develop metastasis and drug resistance.
We are currently addressing the diagnostic and therapeutic applications of the abovementioned studies to overcome drug resistance and metastasis, both of which will have great impact on lung cancer treatment.