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Semin Surg Oncol. 2000 Mar;18(2):143-51.

Role of multimodality treatment for lung cancer.

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  • 1Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, Badalona, Barcelona, Spain.


Locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is, in fact, a systemic disease requiring a multimodality approach for optimal treatment. The role of preoperative chemotherapy has been established and is now an accepted treatment for resectable Stage IIIA NSCLC. Several studies have addressed the feasibility and efficacy of preoperative chemotherapy followed by surgery. All these induction chemotherapy trials have reported a high radiographic response rate, high respectability rate and improved survival in completely resected patients. The findings of three published randomized trials indicate that the survival rate of Stage IIIA patients is better with induction chemotherapy plus surgical resection than with resection alone. More recently, Phase II trials using concurrent chemoradiotherapy have been tested with encouraging results. Chemo-therapy combined with thoracic radiotherapy has emerged as a primary treatment option for locally advanced, unresectable NSCLC. Randomized trials and subsequent meta-analyses have shown a clear survival benefit with platinum-based combination chemotherapy administered with thoracic radiation-as compared to radiation alone-in treating inoperable Stage IIIA and IIIB lung cancer. Combined modality treatment in locally advanced NSCLC continues to evolve and is the subject of ongoing research. Despite clinical advances, many aspects of the management of these patients are yet to be fully clarified: Is surgical resection really necessary for Stage IIIA patients? What is the value of altered-fractionation radiotherapy and three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy? What is the optimal sequencing of radiotherapy and chemotherapy? In this regard, new chemotherapeutic agents may provide additional benefits in the multimodality approach, and it is for this reason that various studies are underway which have incorporated new agents in the front line setting. Finally, a better understanding of the biology of tumors could well help us to optimize treatments. In the future, molecular classification of NSCLC may provide a useful tool when making therapy-related decisions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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