New Study Highlights Progress in Drug Development Landscape for Lung Cancer

An analysis conducted by LUNGevity Foundation finds more therapies are being developed for early-stage lung cancer, highlighting the need for increased biomarker testing
Media Contact

Linda Wenger
(973) 449-3214

WASHINGTON, DC (June 22, 2022) – LUNGevity Foundation, the nation’s leading lung cancer-focused nonprofit organization, conducted a study analyzing the current global lung cancer drug development landscape. The manuscript, which was recently published in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, reveals the impressive progress that has been made in the lung cancer therapy space and points to an increased need for comprehensive biomarker testing at earlier stages of the disease.

The authors of the report curated a comprehensive list of lung cancer therapeutic entities (TEs) in preclinical development and clinical trials using publicly available sources. Of the TEs identified, the majority are focused on non-small cell lung cancer and are in the clinical trial stage of development. Targeted therapies for major oncogenic driver targets, such as ALK, EGFR, KRAS, and BRAF, also dominate the landscape.

“Lung cancer has been a proving ground for precision medicine, and we’ve seen several improvements in targeted therapies in recent years,” said Amy Moore, PhD, vice president of global engagement and patient partnerships at LUNGevity. “However, we need to consider how these new drugs add value to patients and improve outcomes. Having a holistic landscape of these drugs will help drive future innovation in the areas that need it most.”

The report found that new treatment approaches are being developed and tested for both non-small cell and small cell lung cancer, including new classes of drugs such as protein degraders. The analysis also indicates that lung cancer treatment will become increasingly biomarker driven, even for immunotherapy regimens. Also, as more targeted therapies and immunotherapies are being developed for early-stage lung cancer, there will be an increased need for biomarker testing to be implemented at earlier stages of the disease.

The analysis also found that, while there are a wide variety of therapies in development for both small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, many of the current therapies in development focus on PD-1 inhibition, for which there are already approved drugs. As targeted therapies continue to be developed, it is important to consider whether there will be enough patients to fill clinical trial recruitment needs and whether there will be oversaturation in the market.

“It’s been highly reassuring to see the number of new breakthroughs for lung cancer therapies, especially for early-stage disease. Researchers are working hard to develop new treatment options so that no patient is left behind,” said Upal Basu Roy, PhD, MPH, executive director of research at LUNGevity. “This underscores the need for increased and sustained lung cancer research funding to maintain momentum in this space.”

The full text of the manuscript can be accessed from the JTO website. This paper complements LUNGevity’s other work to educate patients about lung cancer treatment options, such as the Lung Cancer Patient Gateways, which provide patients with information on FDA-approved therapies, as well as tools to find clinical trials for their specific subtype of cancer.

About LUNGevity Foundation

LUNGevity Foundation is the nation's leading lung cancer organization focused on improving outcomes for people with lung cancer through research, education, policy initiatives, and support and engagement for patients, survivors, and caregivers. LUNGevity seeks to make an immediate impact on quality of life and survivorship for everyone touched by the disease—while promoting health equity by addressing disparities throughout the care continuum. LUNGevity works tirelessly to advance research into early detection and more effective treatments, provide information and educational tools to empower patients and their caregivers, promote impactful public policy initiatives, and amplify the patient voice through research and engagement. The organization provides an active community for patients and survivors—and those who help them live better and longer lives.

Comprehensive resources include a medically vetted and patient-centric website, a toll-free HELPLine for support, the International Lung Cancer Survivorship Conference, and an easy-to-use Clinical Trial Finder, among other tools. All of these programs are to achieve our vision—a world where no one dies of lung cancer. LUNGevity Foundation is proud to be a four-star Charity Navigator organization.

About Lung Cancer in the US

  • About 1 in 17 Americans will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime.
  • More than 236,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year.
  • About 60%-65% of all new lung cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers.
  • Lung cancer takes more lives in the United States than the next two deadliest cancers (colorectal and pancreatic) combined.
  • Only about 23% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer in the United States will survive 5 years or more, BUT if it is caught before it spreads, the chance of 5-year survival improves dramatically.

Please visit to learn more.