Advanced non-small cell lung cancer.

M. J. Edelman, S. L. Khanwani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer requires histologic proof of diagnosis, careful staging, and assessment of each patient's performance status and comorbidities. For patients with stage IIIB (pleural effusion) and stage IV disease who have a Cancer and Leukemia Group B performance status (PS) of 0 to 1, appropriate management consists of combination chemotherapy with a platinum (either cisplatin or carboplatin) combined with paclitaxel, gemcitabine, vinorelbine, docetaxel, or CPT-11. Dosages and schedules previously established by large phase II or phase III studies should be followed. Variations in the toxicity patterns, schedules of administration, and economic considerations should guide the selection of the specific regimen. For patients who maintain a good performance status after first-line chemotherapy, second-line treatment may be considered. Current evidence supports the use of docetaxel as second-line treatment if the patient has not previously received this drug. Gemcitabine and paclitaxel may also have activity in this setting. Vinorelbine, ifosfamide, and CPT-11 appear to be inactive as second-line therapy for patients who have previously received platinum-based chemotherapy. For patients with a PS of 2, single-agent chemotherapy with vinorelbine, gemcitabine, or a combination of the two should be considered. Patients with poor performance status should be treated with supportive measures designed to relieve pain and acute complications because any tumor-directed therapy has limited benefit. Special situations exist in which curative therapy for metastatic disease is a possibility. Patients who present with solitary sites of metastatic disease, particularly after a long disease-free interval and in the CNS may undergo definitive surgery or radiotherapy with curative intent. Some have also reported favorable outcomes for patients with solitary adrenal or bone metastases as well. Surgical treatment or definitive radiotherapy should not be employed unless a thorough restaging evaluation is performed that includes computed tomography scan of the chest and abdomen through adrenals, brain magnetic resonance imaging, and positron emission tomography scan. A plethora of new agents targeting angiogenesis, tumor invasiveness, the hypoxic environment of tumors, and the cell cycle are currently in development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001


  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols/therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung/drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Patient Selection
  • Salvage Therapy
  • Survival Analysis


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