The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology
Dr. Cascone’s research efforts are focused on preclinical and translational studies in the field of thoracic oncology. She studies both preclinical mouse models and human samples of lung cancer to uncover the cellular and molecular mechanisms that mediate tumor resistance to therapy. Dr. Cascone has expertise in experimental models of lung cancer, imaging modalities, therapeutic resistance, vascular biology, and immunology. Her preclinical studies evaluating the contribution of stromal and cancer cells to resistance to anti-angiogenic therapies led to the identification of stromal-derived EGFR and HGF-MET pathways as central hubs that allow lung cancers to become refractory to anti-angiogenic therapies. More recently, Dr. Cascone has demonstrated that tumor glycolysis characterizes resistance of melanomas to adoptive T cell therapy and is a pathway linked to poor immune infiltration in lung cancers. The overarching goal of Dr. Cascone’s laboratory is to discover novel mechanisms of response and resistance to immune-based therapies, develop novel therapeutic strategies to render lung cancers more immunogenic and enhance the efficacy of immunotherapies. Dr. Cascone designs and conducts as principal investigator clinical studies investigating the role of pre-operative immunotherapies for patients with lung cancer amenable to surgical resection. By combining preclinical and translational approaches, she leads the comprehensive genomic, transcriptomic and immune profiling of murine- and patient-derived tumor tissues, blood and PDX samples to determine the dynamic changes induced by preoperative chemotherapies, antiangiogenic and immune-based therapies in immune cell phenotypes and properties that determine the antitumor immune response. Students rotating in Dr. Cascone’s laboratory will learn how to develop, treat and surgically resect preclinical models of spontaneously metastatic lung cancer that recapitulate the course of human disease. Using tissues derived from these models, the students will be involved in projects aiming to identify novel targets and testing strategies to reduce postoperative tumor recurrence.
Education & Training
Ph.D., Second University of Naples, 2012
M.D., Second University of Naples, 2004