Characteristics of Malignant Neoplasms Important for Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment Outcome

Principal investigator at the Institute of Oncology Ljubljana: Prof. Nikola Besic, PhD

The main purpose of our research program is to improve diagnostic methods and optimize the treatment of patients with cancer. Therefore, experts from the diagnostic laboratories, radiology imaging and clinicians are researchers included in our program. We will explore tumour markers, which we'll get by established methods: cytology, pathology, flow cytometry, cytogenetics, molecular genetics and imaging. We will study the usefulness of markers for the detection of the disease and its prognostic significance. In the next period, our study will be conducted in the field of leukaemia, lymphoid malignancies, thyroid cancer, breast, kidney, prostate and lung cancer. In the field of adult leukaemia patients, we will determine which clones of malignant cancer cells are present before, during and after treatment and at time of relapse. The results will help us in treatment planning and the choice of an appropriate targeted therapy. In the field of leukaemia, lung cancer and Huerthle cell thyroid carcinoma (HCTC) we will study if micro RNAs can serve as tumour markers. In HCTC we will study if micro-RNAs can be useful for distinguishing between adenoma and HCTC, and if miRNAs are predictive markers for metastases. In the field of breast cancer, the frequency of translocation ALK will be determined in triple negative breast cancer. This research is of great practical importance. Namely, the presence of this translocation in the patients, who have a poor prognosis without effective treatment, would provide effective targeted therapy. In the field of cytology of breast cancer, prognostic factors (MIB-1 and S-phase of the cell cycle) in cytological samples will be compared with the results of histological material processed by automated immunohistochemistry strainer. In the field of breast cancer sophisticated methods of breast imaging by magnetic resonance will be tested in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of neoadjuvant systemic treatment with cytostatics and/or targeted therapy. New predictive and prognostic factors and treatment modality will be analyzed for selected groups of patients with breast cancer, for which we believe that our findings could alter the international treatment guidelines. In the field of lung cancer the methods of molecular genetics, cytogenetics, and pharmacogenomics will be used for two groups of patients with non-small cell lung cancer: 1) patients who live longer than 10 years despite distant metastases and 2) patients with lung cancer who are younger than 40 y. of age. The latter studies are very original. There are only limited data about such patients in the literature. Our findings will be very relevant for the treatment of such patients. Potential impact of all of these studies is that our findings will help in the choice of treatment to be most effective with the lowest possible toxicity.

Details about the project are available on the website SICRIS: Characteristics of Malignant Neoplasms Important for Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment Outcome