University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI)

Inflammation and Immune Cells in Lung Cancer

AdenocarcinomaLCP members are actively studying the role of inflammation and host immunity in lung cancer prevention, development, and treatment. For example, one area of study explores how constituents of inhaled tobacco smoke can stimulate chronic lung inflammation and therefore increase lung cancer risk. Another area of study examines the role of the host immune response in preventing tumor recurrence following complete surgical resection of early-stage tumors, and whether a vigorous immune response may serve as a marker of better prognosis in these patients.

Selected Publications

  • Chronic lung inflammation has been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. However, it is unclear whether such an event affects the incidence of mutations in the K-ras oncogene frequently found in lung tumors and that is suggested to be involved in lung tumorigenesis. This study reports that lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-elicited chronic lung inflammation significantly increases the risk of carcinogen-mediated lung tumorigenesis in mice through K-ras gene activation by point mutations. (Keohavong P, et. al., Anticancer Res. 31:2877-82, 2011).
  • Tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) have been found to increase survival in many forms of cancer. High levels of intratumoral TILs are associated with improved recurrence-free survival in stage 1A non-small cell lung cancer patients as well as a reduced likelihood of systemic recurrence (Horne ZD, et. al., J Surg Res. 171:1-5, 2011).


Dhir, Rajiv, MD
Shapiro, Steven, MD
Gladwin, Mark, MD
Wilson, David, MD, MPH
Sciurba, Frank, MD