Patient stratification is key in order to administer the adequate treatment. And for this it is essential to have good biomarkers that can help us decide which patients should we treat each time, for how long, and when is time to stop it.

With this idea in mind, Dr. Luis Paz-Ares and his group, the H12O-CNIO Lung Cancer Clinical Research Unit, are doing promising advances in the fight against lung cancer. They have recently identified and validated a novel biomarker, N-cadherin, which could help to predict the treatment response to anti-FGFR therapies in NSCLC patients, a treatment that is still not used for this cancer type but that is showing good results in bladder cancer and colangiocarcinoma.

The interplay between N-cadherin and FGF Receptor in different oncogenic signaling has been known for quite some time because N-cadherin cooperates with FGFR resulting in signals that lead to the up-modulations of MMP-9 and, hence, cellular invasion, but also supporting the systemic dissemination of tumor cells by enabling circulating tumor cells to associate with the stroma and the endothelium at distant sites.

Although it has only been tested in cell culture and animal models so far, the results obtained are so solid that lung cancer clinical trials are about to start. Thus, this biomarker could be essential to predict which patients could benefit from an anti-FGFR therapy. Hopefully, these studies could be extrapolated to other tumor types, such as breast cancer, because N-cadherin is present in the most invasive and dedifferentiated breast cancer cell lines leading to heightened motility, invasion, and metastasis.