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Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2009 Apr 15;6(2):194-200. doi: 10.1513/pats.200807-068LC.

Adjuvant treatment of resected lung cancer.

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Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Division, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical center, Richmond, Virginia, USA.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide, and efforts to improve outcomes of patients with this disease require a multidisciplinary approach. While surgical resection is the optimal treatment for early stage lung cancer, the high rates of recurrence after resection pose a distinct challenge. In recent years, substantial evidence has accumulated to support adjuvant chemotherapy in Stage II and III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A recent meta-analysis of large clinical trials of cisplatin-based adjuvant chemotherapy for resected NSCLC showed that the 5-year survival benefit in favor of chemotherapy was 5.3% (hazard ratio for death, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.82-0.96; P = 0.005). The use of adjuvant chemotherapy in Stage I NSCLC remains controversial. Current and future efforts are being directed toward identification of prognostic and predictive markers to select patients at highest risk for recurrence, and of chemotherapeutic agents to which their tumors are most likely to respond. The role of targeted therapies, including those directed at the epidermal growth factor receptor and vascular endothelial growth factor in adjuvant treatment, is currently under investigation. At this time, there are no data to support the routine use of adjuvant radiation treatment, except in cases in which surgical margins are positive.

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