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Lung cancer: Symptoms, treatment, and early diagnosis
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- Pathways to diagnosis of non-small cell lung cancer: a descriptive cohort study.
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Access My Committees. View My Order History. Access My Transcript. Recent research shows that this type of biopsy may have a key role in diagnosing lung cancer faster and more safely than other tests. Biomarkers are substances, such as proteins, genes or pieces of genetic material like DNA and RNA, that are found naturally in the body.
They can be measured in body fluids like blood and urine or tissue that has been removed from the body. A gene mutation or a change in the normal amount of a biomarker can mean that a person has a certain type of cancer. Biomarkers can also help doctors predict the prognosis or response to treatment in people with lung cancer.
Testing for several tumour markers at the same time is more effective for diagnosing and predicting a prognosis for lung cancer than testing for any single tumour marker. Researchers showed that when they tested for several tumour markers they found lung cancer more often than when they tested for each marker alone American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, PMID Another clinical trial identified 15 specific genes that doctors can test for to help them make decisions about treating early stage lung cancer Clinical Lung Cancer, PMID Losing weight and muscle mass during chemotherapy may be a negative prognostic factor.
Positive pleural lavage cytology cancer cells in the washings from the lining of the lung and rib cage may be used to predict the chance that lung cancer will come back recur after surgery to remove the lung called a lung resection. A recent study found that there was a higher risk of recurrence if pleural lavage cytology was positive contained cancer cells. Metformin Glucophage is a drug used to help control diabetes. Another clinical trial found that people taking metformin had fewer recurrences of lung cancer than people who were not taking the drug ASCO, Abstract e Further study is needed to find out if metformin can improve the prognosis for people with lung cancer.
Find out more about research in diagnosis and prognosis.
Researchers are looking for new ways to improve treatment for lung cancer. Advances in cancer treatment and new ways to manage the side effects from treatment have improved the outlook and quality of life for many people with cancer. The following is noteworthy research into treatment for lung cancer.
Researchers are looking for ways to improve surgical techniques and reduce side effects. Robot-assisted thoracoscopic surgery uses robotic arms to do surgery inside the chest. Researchers compared robot-assisted thoracoscopic surgery to standard surgical methods, including video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery VATS and removing part of the lung through a larger cut incision in the chest open lobectomy. They found that there was little difference between the 3 techniques and overall survival was the same. Microcoils are very thin, twisted loops of metal usually platinum.
Canadian researchers have developed a new method that uses microcoils to help surgeons find pulmonary nodules very small lung cancer tumours during VATS. Before surgery, the surgeon uses a CT scan to locate the nodule and place a microcoil into it. The surgeon then uses the image of the microcoil during surgery to find and remove the nodule. Radiofrequency ablation RFA uses heat from an electric current to destroy tissue. The study showed that RFA did not affect lung function and that it worked better in healthier people who had tumours that were smaller than 2 cm. It also found that people who were treated with RFA survived for 2 years, which is similar to the survival rate for people who were treated with radiation therapy Cancer, PMID Another study looked at using RFA in people who had lung cancer that had spread outside the lung.
Find out more about research in cancer surgery. Researchers are looking for new chemotherapy drugs and new ways to combine current chemotherapy drugs to improve treatment for lung cancer.
Lung Cancer 101
Improving scheduling and doses of chemotherapy may help make chemotherapy work better and with fewer side effects. Some research is looking at metronomic chemotherapy to treat lung cancer. Improving time and order sequence of chemotherapy is another area of lung cancer research. Chemotherapy is often used along with other treatments for lung cancer. Alternating chemotherapy with targeted therapy seems to be effective for treating certain lung cancers Anticancer Research, PMID Find out more about research in chemotherapy. Targeted therapy is an important part of treatment for lung cancer.
Researchers are looking for new drugs that can be used when cancer becomes resistant to current targeted therapies.
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They are also looking for more effective ways to combine targeted therapy with other treatments. Epidermal growth factor receptor EGFR targeted therapy can be used to treat lung cancer. EGFR is a receptor on the surface of cells that sends signals to cells that allow them to grow and divide. A mutation in the EGFR gene can cause cancer cells to grow and divide more than normal. Anaplastic lymphoma kinase ALK targeted therapy may be used to treat lung cancer.
ALK is a protein that helps with cell growth and division. It is controlled by the ALK gene. Some non—small cell lung cancers have an ALK gene mutation that causes the cancer cells to grow and spread. It is being used to treat lung cancers with the ALK gene mutation. Researchers are studying other ALK targeted drugs in clinical trials.
Vascular endothelial growth factor VEGF targeted therapy may be used to treat advanced non—small cell lung cancer. VEGF is one of the main proteins that help build a blood supply, which a small tumour needs to grow. Anti-angiogenesis drugs slow or stop the growth of new blood vessels.
Cutting off the blood supply will starve a tumour of oxygen and nutrients, which it needs to grow. Bevacizumab Avastin is an anti-angiogenesis drug used to treat lung cancer.
They are also looking at combining anti-angiogenesis drugs with neoadjuvant chemotherapy Oncotarget, PMID Combination targeted therapy uses drugs that work in different ways to target different mutated proteins or genes in cancer cells. Monoclonal antibodies are a type of targeted immunotherapy that binds to specific antigens on cancer cells to help destroy them. They are a promising area of research for lung cancer because they use different targets than the drugs that are currently being used to treat the disease.
Antibody drug conjugates are a type of targeted therapy that uses monoclonal antibodies to deliver chemotherapy. They target proteins on the surface of some cancer cells. Natural killer NK cell immunotherapy is being studied in clinical trials to treat lung cancer.
Natural killer NK cells are often the first line of defence of the immune system against cancer cells. Allogenic NK cell immunotherapy involves transplanting NK cells from a donor to the person with cancer. Researchers are studying NK cell immunotherapy with cryotherapy to treat non—small cell lung cancer in clinical trials Immunologic Research, PMID Find out more about research in targeted therapy.
Finding lung cancer early
Proton beam radiation therapy is a form of external beam radiation therapy that uses high-energy, or charged, proton particles instead of x-ray beams. Protons can be aimed more precisely at the tumour so they deliver a higher dose of radiation but cause less damage to nearby tissues than conventional external beam radiation therapy. Researchers are studying techniques such as pencil beam scanned intensity-modulated proton therapy IMPT to further improve proton beam radiation therapy.
Image-guided radiation therapy IGRT uses imaging to make radiation therapy more accurate.
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