Claire L. Meaney, Ph.D., M.P.H.

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Cancer Prevention Fellow
National Cancer Institute

Project Title: “Inflammation-Based Markers of Lung Cancer Risk and Survival in African Americans”

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Each year, 225,000 new cases of lung cancer are diagnosed, and about 158,000 people die from the disease. African Americans have the highest lung cancer incidence and mortality rates of any racial and ethnic group in the United States. Because they develop the disease at earlier ages and their smoking profiles differ from those of other groups, fewer African Americans meet screening eligibility criteria. In response, researchers aim to understand the causes of lung cancer in African Americans and to define their clinically relevant circulating inflammation signatures.

Findings from the researchers’ previous case-control study highlight a distinct inflammation profile associated with lung cancer in African Americans, compared with European Americans. Researchers will validate this observation in a prospective cohort of samples from the National Cancer Institute’s Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial. Validation of the inflammation profile may provide insight into the etiology of lung cancer in African Americans, further researchers’ understanding of lung cancer’s causes, and show whether inflammation profile proteins are useful as biomarkers of lung cancer risk in African Americans. Ultimately, the study could lead to the identification of biomarkers that could aid early diagnosis or determination of lung cancer risk.