Here's a video slide presentation that provides a basic introduction to bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC), including the demographics, natural history, imaging appearance, and patterns of response that make it a unique subpopulation within lung cancer. The audio only version is below the video.
The Subtleties of Progressive Disease: Why Some Oncologists Continue EGFR Inhibitors (or Other Agents) after Progression
One of the basic concepts of oncology is that you treat patients with different drugs once they've shown progression on a treatment, rather than continue that a patient has presumably become resistant to. However, there are some exceptions to this: many or most women with breast cancer continue the antibody herceptin (trastuzumab) even after progression, adding it to one chemo and then the next, and the same is often done with avastin in colon cancer and sometimes lung cancer as well.
With the recent publication of the Eli Lilly-sponsored phase III trial of immediate versus delayed Taxotere (docetaxel) after the completion of first-line chemotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC (abstract of paper by Fidias and colleagues here), I think the time has come to critically evaluate this as a potentially practice-changing concept.
Video presentation describing the concept behind angiogenesis and the evidence on the anti-angiogenic agent avastin (bevacizumab) in NSCLC.
Or access via web link here.
I've covered stage IIIA NSCLC in several prior posts, mentioning that it's a clinical setting that is among the most controversial, but I don't think I've really described my real world approach. To review, the controversy is that for stage IIIA NSCLC with mediastinal lymph node involvement on the same side as the tumor (N2 nodes), some people would recommend surgery as a main treatment strategy, and others would recommend chemo and radiation without surgery.
Those who have followed my writings over time will know that I haven’t been inclined to adopt a reflexive strategy of ordering molecular testing without good evidence that having this information will improve outcomes. Testing tumors for EGFR mutations is advocated by a vocal minority of lung cancer experts in Boston and New York City, but this hasn’t been advocated by the broader lung cancer community yet, or adopted as routine clinical practice.
Though EGFR inhibitors like tarceva can produce some terrific and long-lasting results in many patients, they aren't toxicity-free. The "targeted therapies" we use just have a very different side effect profile from standard chemo, and the EGFR inhibitors are well known to have skin-related side effects as the leading problem, with loose stools/diarrhea as a less nearly ubiquitous second place issue.
The general approach to NSCLC is in transition right now, as the line between first and second line therapy are becoming increasingly blurred. A few years ago, the clear standard was that we usually stop first line chemo after four to six cycles, then follow a patient clinically and radiographically until they show evidence of progression, at which time we’d start second line treatment.
I doubt there is a group of lung cancer patients more common but less well studied than the substantial subset of frail and/or very elderly patients with advanced NSCLC. While “elderly” patients, usually defined as age 70, have been evaluated as a subset of the population in larger studies and even been the subject of specific studies just for the elderly, most of this work has shown that fit elderly patients do as well as younger patients getting the same aggressive treatment.