Dr. Pennell on Unique Treatment-Related Toxicities in Lung Cancer

Nathan Pennell, MD, PhD
Published: Friday, Sep 30, 2016



Nathan Pennell, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Cleveland Clinic, discusses some of the rare toxicities seen in patients with lung cancer in an interview during the IASLC Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology.

Pennell sheds light on the importance of having a high degree of suspicion when it comes to treating these patients. Oncologists are encouraged to assume any strange side effects they see are related to the drug that a patient is receiving.

A particularly rare toxicity in this setting is pneumonitis, which occurs in up to 5% of patients with lung cancer. Serious pneumonitis typically presents with shortness of breath and cough, which are both quite common for patients with lung cancer, and can therefore be attributed to any number of causes. Pennell recommends doing a CT scan of the chest as soon as symptoms develop, in order to differentiate an infection from potential pneumonitis.


Nathan Pennell, MD, PhD, medical oncologist, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Cleveland Clinic, discusses some of the rare toxicities seen in patients with lung cancer in an interview during the IASLC Chicago Multidisciplinary Symposium in Thoracic Oncology.

Pennell sheds light on the importance of having a high degree of suspicion when it comes to treating these patients. Oncologists are encouraged to assume any strange side effects they see are related to the drug that a patient is receiving.

A particularly rare toxicity in this setting is pneumonitis, which occurs in up to 5% of patients with lung cancer. Serious pneumonitis typically presents with shortness of breath and cough, which are both quite common for patients with lung cancer, and can therefore be attributed to any number of causes. Pennell recommends doing a CT scan of the chest as soon as symptoms develop, in order to differentiate an infection from potential pneumonitis.

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