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Minerva Chirurgica 2009 December;64(6):629-41

language: English

Chemotherapy regimens for non-small cell lung cancer

Loi M., Roche N., Alifano M.

1 Department of Medical Oncology,Hôtel-Dieu University Hospital, Paris, France;
2 Department of Respiratory and Intensive Care Medicine, Hôtel-Dieu University Hospital, Paris, France;
3 Department of Thoracic Surgery, Hôtel-Dieu University Hospital, Paris, France


In spite of medical progresses, lung cancer still remains the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Treatment of lung cancer is based on a multidisciplinary approach including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, molecular targeted therapies and supportive cares. These different treatments have been largely evaluated in the last decades with an enormous quantity of available literature. In this paper, authors provide a short review on chemotherapy in non-small cell lung cancer, based on a selection of the most relevant trials. The use in different settings is reviewed, including adjuvant and neo-adjuvant treatments in operable patients as well as therapy in inoperable patients. The association with both radiotherapy and recently available molecular targeted therapies is also reviewed. In the adjuvant setting, chemotherapy achieved an approximately 5% increase in five-year survival, suggesting that studies to identify ideal candidates to this combined treatment are mandatory. In inoperable patients, the efficacy of chemotherapy has been definitively established, as it provides a significant survival advantage, with improved quality of life, over best supportive cares. Evidences exist on the benefit of the association of molecular targeted drugs to chemotherapy. However, more trials comparing combinations of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, biological therapies, at different doses and duration, are needed. Further research on toxicity and costs are also needed. The possibility of choosing the most appropriate cancer treatment on an individual basis represents the main challenge for the future.

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