Topic Abstract: Lung Cancer Genetics & Therapeutic Targeting

Xzaviar Solone
Graduate Student
Biomedical Sciences Program-Cancer Biology Concentration


Lung cancer is the global leading cause of cancer-related mortality and can be broadly classified as either non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) or small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). There are three major sub-classifications of NSCLC based on their histology pattern and exhibit highly diverse genomic profiles from one another. These diverse subpopulations can make the treatment and management of these patients complicated. Therefore, lung cancer is a significant health burden that needs further research into these distinct sub-populations to improve clinical outcomes. NSCLC patients carrying mutations in the tumor suppressor gene LKB1 are of particular interest. LKB1 usually inhibits the growth and survival benefits of lung tumors; however, when inactivated, these tumors manifest more aggressive phenotypes. Loss of LKB1 function gives these tumors a growth advantage, increases their metastatic potential, and are irresponsive to systemic, targeted, and immune therapies. Thus, if we can further our understanding of the genomic and functional landscape of LKB1-mutant tumors, we can inform future therapies and clinical trials. Our research aims to understand the molecular regulation of LKB1, and we have identified several vital genes essential in maintaining tumor growth and survival. Therefore, LKB1-deficient tumors have become “addicted” to these genes and present a unique vulnerability we can exploit.

Speaker Bio

Xzaviar Solone is a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in the Cancer Biology Program at the University of Florida Graduate Program in Biomedical Science. He works in the lab of Dr. Lizi Wu, professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. Lung tumors with LKB1 inactivation manifest aggressive and treatment-refractory characteristics. His dissertation research aims to understand the molecular regulation diving the association between LKB1 loss and onset of malignant aggressive behaviors.

Florida’s State Academic Standards for Science

Explain the significance of genetic factors, environmental factors, and pathogenic agents to health from the perspectives of both individual and public health.


Explain how mutations in the DNA sequence may or may not result in phenotypic change. Explain how mutations in gametes may result in phenotypic changes in offspring.


Explain the relationship between mutation, cell cycle, and uncontrolled cell growth potentially resulting in cancer.

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