Radiation to Address Cells with Resistance to Targeted Therapies

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Introduction

Thank you to member Craig for asking some excellent questions in response to my Highlights of 2011 webinar.  Thank you also to Dr. West, who emailed me to comment more on the idea of radiation for cells with acquired resistance.

We’ve spoken at length about EGFR and related mutations such as EML4/ALK and ROS1 on GRACE.  For those who are not familiar with these subjects, I will refer you to my webinar for a summary on the most recent data on EGFR, EML4/ALK and ROS1:

Case Discussion with Experts, Drs. Julie Brahmer & Greg Riely, Part 1

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Here's a webinar case discussion I did with Drs. Julie Brahmer from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and Greg Riely from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. They're great thoracic oncologists as wellas friends, and they were kind enough to join me for discussion of several complex cases that don't have clear answers and illustrate the reality that even when we know the evidence, there's plenty of room for judgment.

Dr. Le, Radiation Oncologist from Stanford, on Radiation Options for Early Stage NSCLC

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Dr. Quynh Le, radiation oncologist and Professor at Stanford University, was kind enough to participate in our NSCLC Patient Education Forum. She spoke on the topic of emerging treatment options using radiation for early stage NSCLC. The new work she's describing on stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is looking promising enough that it's being considered increasingly as a very strong choice for people with localized lung cancer but who aren't good candidates for surgery or are disinclined to pursue it.

Trimodality Therapy (Chemotherapy, Surgery, and Radiation) for Malignant Mesothelioma: Can Some Patients actually be Cured?

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Malignant mesothelioma is a relatively rare but particularly deadly malignancy that arises from the lining of the pleural (chest) cavity or peritoneal (abdominal) cavity. About 70% of cases of mesothelioma are directly related to asbestos exposure, usually with about 30 or 40 years between exposure and diagnosis. While there are only about 2200 cases per year in the USA, this number is expected to increase over the next decade, as workers exposed to asbestos earlier in their lives eventually begin to manifest symptoms of the malignancy.

SCLC with Pleural Effusions: Is there Benefit to Adding Radiation?

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In my earliest introductory post about SCLC, I described the typical staging breakdown used clinically, which is essentially divided into limited disease SCLC (LD-SCLC), which is typically treated with chemo and chest radiation together, with curative intent, and extensive disease SCLC (ED-SCLC), which is typically treated with chemo alone and is not considered conventionally curable.

Post-Operative Radiation Therapy: Helpful or Harmful?

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I've discussed the trials that have led to a general recommendation in favor of chemotherapy after surgery for patients who have stage II and IIIA NSCLC, with some ongoing questions about the value in stage IB NSCLC. I haven't touched the issue of post-operative radiation therapy, but the question comes up from members who ask about the evidence for or against radiation, and how it might be given.