OPEN Research Support

Sara Witting Christensen
Department of Oncology, Vejle Hospital

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Planning
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.06.2017  
Slut 01.01.2023  

Clinical aspects of circulating tumor specific methylated DNA and NK cell activity in lung cancer

Short summary

The immune system is important in the body's defense against cancer. Natural killer (NK) cells are able to eliminate malignantly transformed cells, but previous studies suggest that a high level of NK cell activity is essential. NK cell activity can now be reliably estimated from a blood sample. This study will investigate the prognostic impact of NK cell activity in patients with lung cancer treated with immunotherapy. 


The immunologic status is an important aspect in the biological defense against cancer, and the immune system is classically divided into the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. The innate immune system is part of the early defense against invading microbial infections but also against aberrant cells such as cancer cells. Natural killer (NK) cells are recruited to the place of infection or malignant transformation and upon activation are able to eliminate the target cells. NK cells participate in the immune surveillance because they are able to search out target cells without prior sensitization. NK cell activity has been shown to negatively correlate with tumor stage, but it has been difficult to measure NK cell activity accurately. A new assay utilizes the concentration of interferon gamma in plasma of stimulated NK cells as a surrogate for NK cell activation, and previous results show that this activation seems to differ between cancer patients and the general population. 


- To investigate the prognostic impact of HOXA9 methylation and NK cell activity in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated with immunotherapy.

- To monitor the level of methylated HOXA9 and NK cell activity during this treatment and investigate the lead time from changes in biomarker levels to progression.

Description of the cohort

Adults with lung cancer treated with check point immunotherapy. 

Data and biological material

Blood samples and clinical and demographic data. 

Collaborating researchers and departments

Department of Oncology, Vejle Hospital

  • Professor, MD, DMSc, Anders Jakobsen
  • Associate professor, MD, PhD, Torben Frøstrup Hansen
  • MD, Torben Schjødt Hansen

Department of Clinical Pathology, Vejle Hospital

  • Associate professor, MD, PhD, Henrik Hager

Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Vejle Hospital

  • Molecular biologist, PhD, Rikke Fredslund Andersen
  • Molecular biologist, PhD, Line Nederby