Lung cancer patients whose cancer has spread to three or fewer sites may benefit from aggressive surgery or radiation after completing standard chemotherapy, according to research led by MD Anderson Cancer Center. If validated in larger studies, the findings could represent a dramatic shift in care for thousands of lung cancer patients.
Daniel Gomez, M.D., associate professor of Radiation Oncology, and colleagues found an eight-month progression-free survival benefit in patients treated with local consolidative therapy — treatment given to kill any residual cancer cells in the body after initial treatment, such as chemotherapy, has concluded.
Historically, metastatic lung cancer patients were thought to be incurable, and chemotherapy was prescribed to extend survival time. With treatment advances over the past decade, however, a number of retrospective studies have suggested that in those lung cancer patients with minimal metastases, theoretically, the disease could be better controlled long-term with local consolidative therapy.
“With recent advances in radiation delivery, targeted agents and systemic and maintenance therapy, some research has suggested it’s possible to control the disease. Yet those studies have inherent bias because patients treated with local consolidative therapy were selected due to favorable risk factors,” explains Gomez, the study’s corresponding author. “Our research is the first randomized prospective study that compares aggressive treatment of lung cancer patients who have three or fewer metastases to standard therapy, which typically is maintenance therapy or observation.”
Gomez says the study’s findings provide evidence and enthusiasm for offering aggressive local consolidative therapy and, with validation, could pave the way to treat tens of thousands of lung cancer patients with curative intent.
Read more about this study on MD Anderson's website.