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Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2013 Jun;10(6):334-43. doi: 10.1038/nrclinonc.2013.64. Epub 2013 May 21.

Lung cancer chemoprevention: current status and future prospects.

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Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, VA Eastern Colorado Healthcare System, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, 1055 Clermont Street, Box 151, Denver, CO 80220, USA. robert.keith@


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, making it an attractive disease for chemoprevention. Although avoidance of tobacco use and smoking cessation will have the greatest impact on lung cancer development, chemoprevention could prove to be very effective, particularly in former smokers. Chemoprevention is the use of agents to reverse or inhibit carcinogenesis and has been successfully applied to other common malignancies. Despite prior studies in lung cancer chemoprevention failing to identify effective agents, we now have the ability to identify high-risk populations, and our understanding of lung tumour and premalignant biology continues to advance. There are distinct histological lesions that can be reproducibly graded as precursors of non-small-cell lung cancer and similar precursor lesions exist for adenocarcinoma. These premalignant lesions are being targeted by chemopreventive agents in current trials and will continue to be studied in the future. In addition, biomarkers that predict risk and response to targeted agents are being investigated and validated. In this Review, we discuss the principles of chemoprevention, data from preclinical models, completed clinical trials and observational studies, and describe new treatments for novel targeted pathways and future chemopreventive efforts.

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