Researchers Receive $2.5 Million Grant to Study Appendiceal Cancer

A woman wearing medical clothing looking at a slide.

Researchers at Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist’s NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center have received a $2.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help them learn more about treating appendiceal cancer, a rare cancer affecting 1 in 100,000 people in the United States annually and for which there is limited research to guide treatment.

Lance Miller, PhD, MS, associate professor of cancer biology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and co-principal investigator of the study, said appendiceal cancers have traditionally been treated in the same way as colon cancer.

“However, we’re learning that these cancers are molecularly very different,” Miller said. “By increasing our molecular understanding of appendiceal cancer, we hope to have greater insight on how best to treat, which will lead to better outcomes.”

According to Miller, appendiceal cancer is often diagnosed at late stages when it has already spread throughout the peritoneal cavity, the space within the abdomen that contains the stomach, liver and intestines. As a result, current treatment options are limited.

“This research has the potential to create new possibilities for personalized medicine in the treatment of appendiceal cancer,” Miller said.