Dr. Rajkumar Savai

Molecular Mechanisms in Lung Cancer

Group Leader:

Dr. Rajkumar Savai

Research Topic


Statistically, lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer worldwide, regardless of gender - it is responsible for approximately 170.000 deaths per year, corresponding to one-sixth of all cancer deaths. Lung cancer affects a greater number of people worldwide (approximately 1.2 million new cases per year) than does any other cancer. Because lung cancer patients are typically diagnosed at a late/severe stage of the disease, the five-year survival rate is less than 15 %.

Approximately 80 % of all lung cancer cases are non-small-cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs): squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma and large-cell carcinoma. The remaining cases are small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLCs). These distinctions are important for proper treatment and prognosis.


Prof. Dr. Ulf R. Rapp

Senior Advisor

Prof. Dr. Ulf R. Rapp



The laboratory is mainly interested in several aspects of lung cancer namely cancer progression, cancer treatment, and cancer imaging.

To investigate, we established several lung tumor mouse models such as:

1. Lung tumor models

  • Transgenic lung tumor models: Kras, Raf and Myc oncogenes-driven transgenic lung tumor models
  • Primary and mestastatic lung tumor models: Tumor cells were installed intratracheally for primary lung tumor model and tumor cells were injected intravenously for metastatic tumor model
  • Established small animal lung tumor imaging techniques (micro-computed tomography, and flat-panel volumetric computed tomography) to detect and monitor lung tumor growth and vascularization. As treatment strategies, we focused on immunotherapy using dendritic cells tumor cell fused hybrids.

To explore new therapeutic options, the Savai group is working on


2. Developing novel cancer therapy modalities that would target tumor-microenvironment interactions towards cancer therapy and

3. Targeting of small molecule anticancer inhibitors to the tumor and its vasculature with tyrosine kinase, phosphodiesterase and DNA methylation inhibitors.



Dr. Rajkumar Savai

Molecular Mechanisms of Lung Cancer

Max-Planck-Institut für Herz- und Lungenforschung

Parkstraße 1

61231 Bad Nauheim

Tel.: +49 (0)6032 705-420 (Büro)

Tel.: +49 (0)6032 705-313 (Labor)

Fax: +49 (0)6032 705-471

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