What are the latest treatments available besides chemotherapy and radiation?

Here are some highlights of treatments being utilized that, unlike chemotherapy, target the destruction of cancer cells while sparing normal cells and minimizing side effects:

  • By evaluating the mutations that occur in a lung cancer cell’s genome responsible for driving the uncontrolled growth and spread of these cells, drugs have been developed and approved that overcome these mutations and resulting changes in cellular processes. These TARGETED THERAPIES,” include inhibitors for EGFR, ALK, ROS1 and Angiogenesis.
  • Over time, a patient’s cells can outwit and thereby become resistant to targeted therapy. NEWER GENERATIONS of targeted therapies continue to be developed to overcome drug resistance.
  • More recently, By evaluating what strategies cancer cells use to evade an individual’s immune system, drugs have been developed to overcome this evasion or modify the body’s immune response to the presence of cancer.  This type of treatment is referred to as IMMUNOTHERAPY. Examples of immunotherapy drugs include PD-1, PD-L1and CTLA- 4 inhibitors.

These and other personalized approaches to lung cancer treatment are not only improving a patient’s quality of life, but are even prolonging lives. Ask your oncologist about whether these therapies might be appropriate for you.

Things are changing rapidly in the approach to treating patients with lung cancer.