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Adjuvant therapy for resected non-small cell lung cancer

By Antoinette J. Wozniak and Shirish M. Gadgeel


Surgery remains the initial treatment for patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The frequent occurrence of distant metastases and local regional failure after surgical resection would indicate that additional treatment is necessary. Early trials of adjuvant chemotherapy and postoperative radiation were often plagued by small patient sample size, inadequate surgical staging, and ineffective or antiquated treatment. A 1995 meta-analysis found a nonsignificant reduction in risk of death for postoperative cisplatin-based chemotherapy. This was followed by a new generation of randomized phase III trials some of which have reported a benefit for chemotherapy in the adjuvant setting. Based on the results of these trials, platin-based chemotherapy has become the standard of care for resected stages II and IIIA NSCLC. The role of postoperative radiation therapy remains to be defined. In the future, improvement in survival outcomes from adjuvant treatment is likely to result from the evaluation of novel agents, identification of tumor markers predictive of disease relapse, and definition of factors that determine sensitivity to therapeutic agents. Some of the molecularly targeted agents such as the angiogenesis and epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors are being incorporated into clinical trials. Gene expression profiles and proteomics are techniques being used to create prediction models to identify patients at risk for disease relapse. Molecular markers such as ERCC1 may determine response to treatment. Increasing the understanding of the molecular makeup of lung cancer will hopefully increase cure rates for patients by maximizing the efficacy of the adjuvant therapy

Topics: Reviews
Publisher: SAGE Publications
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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