Barbara Gitlitz, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and members of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, is leading a new clinical study to understand why lung cancer occurs in adults under 40 who are athletic, were never smokers and do not exhibit any of the known lung cancer genetic mutations.

The multi-institutional research project is aimed at determining whether healthy young adults who are diagnosed with lung cancer have a unique subtype, or genotype, and at developing new targeted therapies for these younger patients.

“This study lays the groundwork for discovery of novel targetable genotypes as well as heritable and environmental risk factors for lung cancer patients under 40,” said Gitlitz. “We’ll be evaluating 60 patients in this initial study and hope to apply our findings to a larger follow-up study in the future.”

The Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute is managing the study. The other participating institutions are the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, The Ohio State University and the University of Torino in Italy.

For more information about the study, please contact Steven Young, president of ALCMI, at (203) 226-5765 or or visit

— By Hope Hamashige