Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación

Respiratory Tract Tumours

Coordinator: Luis Montuenga/ Co-coordinator: Luis Paz Ares

This program aims to contribute to a deeper understanding and more effective management of lung and head and neck tumors.

Lung cancer is the most diagnosed cancer, with 2.2 million new cases per year worldwide. According to the latest Globocan data (2020), it ranks second in incidence (11% of the total) and first in mortality (1.8 million cases, 18% of the total). Additionally, it has an unacceptably high mortality rate, primarily due to late-stage diagnosis and the limited effectiveness of current therapies. As a result, no more than 15% of lung cancer patients survive for more than 5 years. In the case of head and neck cancer, nearly one million cases are diagnosed annually, and about half a million people die from it.

Despite advances, there is still a need to deepen the scientific understanding of the initiation, progression, immune evasion, resistance, and metastasis mechanisms of these tumors. This is a key objective to design new strategies for early detection, prognosis, and therapeutic interventions that can be implemented in routine clinical practice.


Through the alliance of clinical and translational research and organized into six different research groups, this program aims to address the current challenges in the detection and treatment of respiratory tract tumors, with a focus on precision medicine and the identification of new therapeutic targets and immunotherapy strategies.

Program objectives:

  • Operational Objective: To equip itself with tools for dissecting and validating predictors of response and resistance mechanisms in vitro and in vivo for immunotherapy and molecular therapies in lung and head and neck cancer.

  • Scientific Objective: To conduct integrated studies to optimize the response and resistance blockade to new therapies in respiratory tract tumors through 1) the analysis of molecular mechanisms in vitro, 2) the development of new preclinical models, 3) the development of technologies for the study of minimal residual disease, 4) the analysis of samples from clinical cohorts, and 5) participation, development, or post-hoc analysis of clinical trials for new therapies.


Main ResearcherConsortium InstitutionRegions
Luis Montuenga Centro de Investigación Médica Aplicada Navarra
Luis Paz-Ares Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre Madrid
Amancio Carnero Hospital Virgen del Rocio Andalucía
Carlos Camps Hospital General Universitario de Valencia Valencia
Juan Rodrigo Tapia Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias Asturias
Mariano Barbacid Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas Madrid