This month's Journal of Thoracic Oncology includes a landmark article, written by a multidisciplinary group of lung cancer experts that features several of the leading lung cancer pathologists in the world, that is attempting to do no less than present a new categorization of the pathology of lung cancer, focusing primarily on adenocarcinomas, but also touching on other lung cancer subgroups.
Only a few years ago, oncologists saw lung cancer as divisible into small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), with very little relevance to any division beyond that point.
Lung Cancer FAQ: I've just been diagnosed with advanced NSCLC. What treatment should I be starting with??
The initial or "first line" management of advanced NSCLC has evolved quite a bit over the past 10 years, in that time moving from a much more uniform approach of very similar treatment for just about everyone to a revised approach that is far more individualized. First, we assess key issues like the subtype of NSCLC, focusing largely on whether it is squamous cell or non-squamous NSCLC, because treatment tends to diverge very early based on this factor.
General Introduction to Small Cell Lung Cancer
Lung cancer consists of two major types: small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Approximately 85% percent of all lung cancer patients have NSCLC, and the remaining 15% have SCLC.
I'm very pleased to offer the excellent podcast produced from the recent webinar by Dr. Suresh Ramalingam, a leader in the lung cancer field who heads the Thoracic Oncology Program at Emory University in Atlanta. He's also a good friend I've known since our fellowship training days, and he was kind and generous enough to refuse the honorarium we offered for his participation, instead requesting that it be donated back and used for other GRACE programs. Instead, he was happy to do this entirely out of a commitment to the lung cancer community.
A topic that came up in a recent expert round table case discussion was the issue of how to manage a patient with a lung cancer for which the pathology report says "NSCLC not otherwise specified (NOS)", or "poorly differentiated NSCLC, NOS". What does this actually mean, and what does it mean in terms of treatment options?
I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Matthew Horton, a pathologist who works with my own group at Swedish Cancer Institute in Seattle, at a pathology company called CellNetix. He did subspecialty training in lung pathology and is a terrific resource for my colleagues and me, and now for a wider audience.
In this week’s Journal of Clinical Oncology the final results of the phase III trial investigating chemotherapy with or without thalidomide in previously untreated NSCLC patients were published. Most people remember thalidomide for the horrifying birth defects (absence of arms and legs, etc) that resulted in the 1960s when pregnant women were given thalidomide for morning sickness.
At the time that OncTalk (the predecessor to GRACE) was just getting off the ground in the fall of 2006 (wow, three years have gone quickly!), Avastin (bevacizumab) was just getting FDA approval in the first line treatment of advanced NSCLC.
I think one of the most important lead stories from ASCO 2008 got buried. Nobody's really talking about it yet, but they should.