Lung cancer treatment, and outcomes, look extremely different than they did years ago, and research continues to find innovative and more effective ways to help patients with the disease live longer and better their lives.
In honor of World Lung Cancer Day, CURE® took a look back at some of our top lung cancer stories so far from the year 2023. From new approvals to prediction tools for disease outcomes, here is a list of some exciting news in the space:
In January, the Food and Drug Administration approved Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for the treatment of patients with stage 1B, 2 or 3A non-small cell lung cancer that had previously been treated with surgery and platinum-based chemotherapy. After the approval, CURE® spoke with lung cancer expert Dr. Roy S. Herbst, professor of medicine and deputy director and chief of medical oncology at the Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital, about what this approval means for patients. Herbst said it was, “another form of insurance that (patients) can take to keep their cancer from coming back and spreading.”
Moderate to severe depression can cause an increase in certain inflammatory biomarkers, which can be used to predict survival in patients with lung cancer, according to research published in PLOS ONE. As such, it is extremely important for patients with lung cancer to talk with their health care team if they are experiencing symptoms of depression, explained Barbara L. Andersen, professor of psychology at The Ohio State University, in an interview with CURE®.
Patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who have a history of proton pump inhibitor use — medication to prevent the production of stomach acid for conditions related to the gastrointestinal tract — and PD-L1 score of 50% or more tended to have better outcomes with the immunotherapy agent, Keytruda, according to recent research. These findings led researchers to believe that patients who have a high risk of death or disease progression on single-agent immunotherapy treatment may be “better suited for (immunotherapy) plus chemotherapy than (immunotherapy) monotherapy.”
Blood test results — when used in combination with individualized risk factors — may be able to predict which patients are at a higher risk of dying from lung cancer, according to research conducted by a team of clinicians from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The 4MP blood test plus the PLCOm2012 prediction model tended to more accurately predict
which lung cancer faced mortality risk within the current US Preventative Services Task Force criteria, according to the research, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
In our Lung Cancer Special Issue this spring, we discussed the possibility of surgically treating stage 1A non-small cell lung cancer by removing only a small portion of the lung, rather than the entire lobe. Findings from a phase 3 trial that included 697 patients with the disease found that there were similar disease-free survival and overall survival (time from treatment until death of any cause) outcomes among patients who underwent a sublobar resection (removal of a small section of the lung) compared to those who had a lobar resection (removal of one or multiple lobes of the lung).
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