Oncologists are currently witnessing rapid diagnostic and therapeutic advances in their field. These advances require that physicians are up-to-date regarding the ever-changing standards of care. With the present publication, we hope to contribute to this goal, by summarising recent findings in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, as presented at the European Cancer Congress (ECC) that took place in Vienna, from 25th–29th September, 2015.
Innovations for patients with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer are of particular interest due to their poor prognosis. Targeted agents have already been shown to improve survival outcomes in this setting. The latest analyses shed light on their effects on other important endpoints, such as quality of life, and define the benefits of new drugs in difficult-to-treat subgroups. Refined molecular testing techniques have become available, although their wide-spread implementation in clinical practice has yet to be improved.
Significant therapeutic advances were also shown for the immune checkpoint inhibitors nivolumab and pembrolizumab, while new representatives of this drug class, such as atezolizumab, are well on their way. Nivolumab also excelled in the treatment of patients with small-cell lung cancer. However, the patient selection through predictive biomarkers still needs further research with regard to these novel immunotherapeutics.
Early-stage and locally advanced non–small-cell lung cancer deserves attention as well, in particular with regard to improving long-term outcomes. For patients with adenocarcinoma, the selection of patients for adjuvant chemotherapy might be improved by use of the IASL/ATS/ERS classification in the future. Finally, sublobar resection was shown to be feasible in stage IA tumours according to HRCT and maximum standardized uptake values on FDG-PET/CT.
Author: Robert Pirker, MD, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria