FRRB Project 1731093 - Interrogating circulating lung tumor cells to guide personalized therapies and identify novel targets to hit metastasis initiating cells

Name and Surname of PI

Giulia Bertolini

Project Acronym

CTC Mining

Project ID


Host Institution

Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale per lo studio e la cura dei Tumori - Milan

Pathology of Interest

Lung Cancer

Research Area


Project Start Date

1 April 2021

Project End Date

31 March 2024


€ 574.660,00

Type of Project



Despite recent pharmacological progress, the survival rate of advanced stage lung cancer patients remains poor, mainly due to drug resistance and metastatic progression that ultimately represents the leading cause of death in cancer patients. Circulating tumor cells (CTCs), the rare subset of cells released into the bloodstream from the primary tumor, are responsible for metastases formation. In this project, CTCs will be identified and monitored through  non-invasive venous blood sampling  in lung cancer patients undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy. We will use innovative technologies allowing comprehensive  single-cell analyses  of CTC,  necessary for understanding the complexity and heterogeneity of the tumor. Based on the CTC study, our goals are to identify patients who respond to chemotherapy treatment, anticipating clinical end-points, to guide optimal combination strategies ensuring personalized therapy for each patient and ultimately unveil new targets to impair metastatization.