Lung Cancer Research

Our scientists study the genetic alterations that drive lung cancer development and the factors that shape lung cancer risk. They also study how the constellation of noncancerous cells surrounding the tumor may influence its progression. Our researchers seek to develop improved therapies for this disease and run clinical trials aimed at improving treatment. 


Researchers and Patient Treatments

Dr. McGarry Houghton

Our Lung Cancer Researchers

Our interdisciplinary scientists and clinicians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat lung cancer as well as other cancers and diseases.

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Patient Treatment and Care

At Fred Hutch, our interdisciplinary teams work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our aim is to provide patients access to advanced treatment options while getting the best cancer care.

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Lung Cancer Clinical Trials

Clinical research is an essential part of the scientific process that leads to new treatments and better care. Clinical trials can also be a way for patients to get early access to new cutting-edge therapies. Our clinical research teams are running clinical studies various kinds of lung cancers.

Lung Cancer Research

Lung cancer research at Fred Hutch spans fundamental studies of the gene changes that drive the disease and large-scale population studies that seek to understand why it develops in some people but not others.

Lung Cancer Risk

Though smoking is perhaps the most well-known risk factor for lung cancer, not everyone who smokes will develop lung cancer. And people who have never smoked make up a growing percentage of those diagnosed with lung cancer. Our scientists study the differences in lung tumors in these two populations to seek unique drug targets in each type of tumor. We also perform large-scale population-based studies to better understand why smoking predisposes only some people to lung cancer. Such studies could improve our understanding of who is most at risk of lung cancer and help doctors improve screening strategies.


Cancer cells are surrounded by noncancerous cells. Many of these can influence tumor cells’ growth, invasiveness and ability to metastasize, or leave the original tumor and initiate new tumors elsewhere. Our investigators study these nontumor cells and how they interact with lung tumor cells. In particular, Our scientists focus on cells from the immune system. Insights from these studies could point to new therapeutic targets or ways to harness the immune system itself to target lung cancer. Our scientists also carry out clinical trials of immunotherapy strategies against lung cancer.

New Drug Targets

Understanding the inner workings of cancer cells can help researchers discover new drug targets. Our scientists work to pinpoint the critical genetic changes that promote lung cancer and translate these insights into targeted therapies for patients’ individual tumors.

Active Projects

Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial (CARET)

Public Health Sciences, Cancer Prevention

Researchers tested the efficacy and safety of beta-carotene and retinyl palmitate in people at high risk for lung cancer in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Active follow-up of trial. participants ended on June of 2005; however, the program continues to support the extensive biological repository and ancillary studies that use CARET samples and data.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Jackie Dahlgren,

Coordinating Center for the Population-based Research to Optimize the Screening PRocess (PROSPR) Consortium

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Building on the success of PROSPR I, PROSPR II investigators from a variety of disciplines and institutions are conducting research to improve the screening of cervical, colorectal, and lung cancers.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Marty Stiller,

Infrastructure Support and Pilot Tissue Collection for the CARET Biorepository

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

Researchers are collecting plasma and DNA samples from participants that are high risk for lung cancer. This 20 year collection includes the following information: demographic, lifestyle, nutrition, cancer incidence, survival, and cause of death. This specimen bank enables research on molecular, genetic, and nutritional epidemiology, early detection, diagnosis, and prognosis of the common cancers in both men and women.

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Chu Chen,

Integrative Analysis of Lung Cancer Etiology and Risk – Biomarkers of Lung Cancer Risk (LC3-II)

Public Health Sciences, Epidemiology

In an effort to evaluate, identify, predict biomarkers of lung cancer risk, scientists will bring together data from ongoing biomarker studies and conducting de novo laboratory analyses of a comprehensive panel of promising risk biomarkers within the Lung Cancer Cohort Consortium (LC3).

Funding Agency: National Cancer Institute

Contact: Chu Chen,

Latest Lung Cancer News

Don’t forget the F/U after your lung cancer screening Fred Hutch study finds nearly half of people with ‘positive’ lung cancer screening CTs had delays in their follow-up, advancing disease in some August 30, 2023
Cancer and the LGBTQ+ community From structural barriers and binary patient forms to gendered diseases, ‘queer cancer’ can be fraught with bias and bad assumptions August 3, 2023
Lung cancer expert Dr. McGarry Houghton receives Satya and Rao Remala Family Endowed Chair New sustained funding will represent Fred Hutch’s first endowed chair for lung cancer June 16, 2023