The Thoracic Oncology Center at OSUCCC – James includes medical, surgical, radiation oncologists, pathologists, pulmonologists, researchers and other experts focused on prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, and improved long term followup for patients with thoracic cancers.

This exceptional team of experts uses a multidisciplinary approach, based on advanced imaging, genetic and immunologic profiling of each patient’s tumor to optimize and individualize treatment plans. With state of the art diagnostic, minimally invasive surgical approaches, radiation technologies, and a comprehensive portfolio of clinical trials, we have access to tomorrow’s therapies today. Our thoracic-specialty-trained thoracic surgeons enable our team to offer potentially curative surgery to a greater number of patients, often including patients who previously may have been considered unresectable. Our thoracic surgeons also offer robotic assisted lobectomy for treatment of early stage lung cancer. Our interventional pulmonologists can place stents or remove tumors from the airway to improve breathing in addition to diagnosing new cancer in the least invasive way.Our experts are actively involved in developing personalized therapy approaches effective against specific molecular defects of cancer rather than utilizing a one-size-fits-all approach.

The Thoracic Oncology Research Program benefits from National Cancer Institute (NCI) funding to discover the next generation of therapies and conduct early phase I and phase II clinical trials of promising new treatments, as well as leadership in national clinical trials groups to facilitate the movement of promising agents to phase II and phase III national trials.

Research Strengths

  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Minimally invasive surgical techniques
  • Immunotherapy
  • Genomic-based treatment

Affiliated and Collaborating Programs

  • The OSUCCC – James Lung Cancer Screening Clinic
  • Lung Cancer Mutation Consortium
  • The Ohio State University Center of Excellence in Regulatory Tobacco Science
  • Ohio State’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science

Clinical Trials

OSU-13230: A Phase II Study of MPDL3280A (An Engineered Anti-PDL1 Antibody) in Patients with PD-L1 Positive Locally Advanced or Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
PI: Bo Chao
NCT ID: NCT02031458

  • Objective response rate assessed according to RECIST criteria
  • Duration of response
  • Progression-free and overall survival

OSU-12053: A Randomized Phase II Trial of Erlotinib Alone or In Combination with Bevacizumab in Patients with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer and Activating Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Mutations
PI: Greg Otterson, MD
NCT ID: NCT01532089

  • Progression-free survival (PFS) of erlotinib and bevacizumab versus that of erlotinib alone in untreated advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients who have activating EGFR mutations
  • Overall survival of erlotinib and bevacizumab versus erlotinib alone
  • PFS of patients with different mutation types (exon deletion 19 vs. exon 21 L858R)

OSU-12167: A Phase II study of the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib as a single agent and in combination with the MEK inhibitor trametinib in subjects with BRAF V600E mutation positive metastatic (stage IV) non-small cell lung cancer
NCT ID: NCT01336634

  • Overall response rate (the proportion of subjects with confirmed complete response or partial response) in subjects with stage IV BRAF V600E mutant NSCLC that have progressed on at least one prior anticancer treatment for metastatic disease administered dabrafenib as a single agent (Cohort A) and in combination with trametinib (Cohort B)
  • Duration of response, progression-free and overall survival

INHERIT EGFR – Studying Germline EGFR Mutations in Lung Cancer Study
Local PI: David Carbone, MD, PhD
NCT ID: NCT01754025

Inheriting the EGFR mutation T790M significantly increases a smoker’s risk of developing lung cancer, and can predispose individuals, including non-smokers, for lung cancer.


  • Identify patients with tumors that have T790M EGFR mutation, then test a saliva sample to learn if they also carry the mutation as a germline (inherited) mutation
  • Offer genetic counseling and testing to family members to learn if they carry the mutation
  • Those with the mutation qualify for a baseline lung cancer CT scan for screening, with the goal of finding hidden cancers earlier—when they are more treatable

Prevention Research

The Ohio State University Center of Excellence in Regulatory Tobacco Science (OSU-CERTS) (1P50CA180908)
Co-PI: Peter Shields, MD
Co-PI: Mary Ellen Wewers, PhD, MPH
Objectives: OSU-CERTS research is directed toward understanding the underlying reasons for tobacco-product preferences, especially dual and poly-use, and how these reasons influence use in an environment of ever-changing types of tobacco products. A series of adolescent and adult cohort studies, conducted in natural settings and complemented by well-controlled experimental studies, allow for causal inference. All four projects provide data for urban and rural settings to enhance generalizability.

Social Networks and Tobacco Use among Ohio Appalachian Women (5P50CA105632)
PI: May Ellen Wewers, PhD, MPH

  • Characterize the social networks of women (never, former and current smokers) in Ohio Appalachian counties
  • Determine the association between selected individual, interpersonal, workplace and community-related characteristics and social networks among women in Ohio Appalachian counties
  • Determine the association between selected individual, interpersonal, workplace and community-related characteristics and smoking status within the social networks among women in Ohio Appalachian counties
  • Develop and test the feasibility of a social network-based cessation intervention among Ohio Appalachian women who smoke

Tobacco Cessation Interventions with Ohio Appalachian Smoker (3R01CA129771)
PI: May Ellen Wewers, PhD, MPH

  • Evaluate the efficacy of a lay-led (LL) intervention in promoting long term abstinence from tobacco
  • Examine the association between 12-month abstinence and selected individual, interpersonal, organizational, neighborhood and community, and societal factors among adult Appalachian tobacco users exposed to a tobacco cessation intervention
  • Characterize activity patterns using space-time measures among adult Appalachian tobacco users exposed to a tobacco cessation intervention

Translational Studies

CALGB-151108: Correlative Imaging Analysis Of CALGB 30406: Erlotinib Therapy In Lung Cancer As A Model For The Development Of Biologically Meaningful Response Metrics
PI: Greg Otterson

OSU-07082: Analysis of FANCD2 Protein Monoubiquitin Status and Nuclear Foci Formation in the Primary Solid Tumors

Translational Research Accomplishments

Candidate driver mutation identified in lung-cancer trial “super responder”. A multi-institutional study led by OSUCCC – James researchers describes a patient with advanced adenocarcinoma of the lung who was treated with sorafenib while on a clinical trial. Of 306 patients in the trial, 3 percent responded to sorafenib. One patient had a complete response that lasted for five years. She had been headed for hospice care when she entered the trial. The researchers engineered the mutation into normal lung cells and showed that this abnormal gene formed tumors, and that the tumors were inhibited by sorafenib, and also identified the same mutation in 1 percent of an independent group of lung cancer cases. The findings were an example of a candidate activating mutation that can be therapeutically targeted. Published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Senior author: David Carbone, MD, PhD.

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