In recent years, immunotherapy, a treatment that enhances the body’s own immune cancer-fighting response, has been shown to be a very promising treatment option. Immunotherapy has proven effective for treating multiple cancer types, including some types of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Among these NSCLC patients, currently about 20% respond to the treatment.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer, comprising 85% of all diagnosed cases of lung cancer. Treatment of NSCLC is dependent on the stage of the disease. In stage III NSCLC, the primary (original) tumor is large and the cancer has spread to lymph nodes in the center of the chest or other lymph nodes that are on the same side as the primary tumor. This stage of NSCLC is often referred to as locally advanced lung cancer and is divided into stages IIIA, IIIB, and IIIC, based on which lymph nodes have been affected and the size of the primary tumor.
In 2004, after the discovery of mutations in the EGFR gene in lung cancer, the FDA approved a targeted therapy that increased survival in EGFR-positive NSCLC patients. However, the tumors inevitably became resistant to the treatment, and the cancer returned unchecked.
At LUNGevity, we are incredibly excited to welcome 2019 and see what advances this new year will bring! As we look forward, it’s important to remember all the advancements that 2018 brought us.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for about 15% of all lung cancers and is found most often in people with a history of tobacco exposure. Patients with late-stage SCLC often respond so well to initial treatments that the cancer usually regresses and can even become undetectable in some cases. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of these cases, the cancer soon returns aggressively and is then resistant to treatment.
September 2018 ended with a bang! The 19th World Conference for Lung Cancer was hosted in Toronto, summer unofficially ended in New York, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved another drug, dacomitinib, for lung cancer … I am sure I am missing a few things.
A newly diagnosed patient with advanced-stage adenocarcinoma, a sub-type of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), may have their biopsy tissue tested for known biomarkers. The oncologist requests biomarker testing to look for changes in cancer cells to help personalize the patient’s treatment. Patients that are positive for biomarkers such as PD-L1 and EGFR have seen a lot of progress in treatment options over the last five years. However, targeted treatments for the KRAS mutation haven’t yet arrived.
Driving Innovative Cancer Science to Patient Care was the name of this year’s April meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Chicago, and it was fitting―there were lots of exciting advances in targeted therapies, immunotherapy, and more that I am pleased to share with you in this blog.
Progress in targeted therapies is continuing in two areas.
Many people with family histories of cancer are getting tested to identify their cancer risk and take action before it starts. For example, the actress Angelina Jolie, who inherited the BRCA1 gene and whose mother died of ovarian cancer, underwent two preventive surgeries to reduce her risk of breast and ovarian cancer, while patients with an increased risk of colon cancer often take a daily dose of aspirin to reduce their risk.
I am sure all of you have heard the phrase “A picture’s worth a thousand words!” I first heard it from my undergraduate biology professor, who always reminded us that each time we looked at an anatomy image in Grey’s Anatomy, we would learn something new. Well, little did I know that I would be using the same phrase in the context of lung cancer screening and computed tomography (CT) screening.