A Time of Hope in Lung Cancer

Mike Hennessy
Published: Saturday, Dec 20, 2014
Mike Hennessy

OncLive Chairman,
Mike Hennessy

The statistics for lung cancer could hardly be more sobering:

In the United States alone, nearly 586,000 people are likely to die of lung cancer this year, making the malignancy the nation’s second most common cause of death after heart disease.

Yet on OncLive, we offer more than a glimmer of hope for the future. Leading researchers described several areas of significant advances during the 9th Annual New York Lung Cancer Symposium, a daylong conference that Physicians’ Education Resource (PER) hosted November 8. In this issue, we focus on two of the most noteworthy advances: immunotherapy and molecular diagnostics.

It was little more than two years ago that researchers were expressing pleasant surprise that monoclonal antibodies aimed at the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway would help patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) because the tumor type has been notoriously resistant to immunotherapeutic approaches. Now, the field is booming and a new drug is likely to be available for broad clinical usage in the near future.

Similarly, the molecularly targeted therapy portfolio in NSCLC was limited to EGFR inhibitors until agents aimed at ALK rearrangements joined the oncologists’ toolkit last year. Now, next-generation sequencing offers the possibility of much more progress in identifying mutations in this highly heterogeneous disease.

Meanwhile, leaders in the field such as Roy S. Herbst, MD, PhD, are helping to design some of the most innovative clinical trials in oncology today, with the promise that novel therapies can be evaluated in a speedy and accurate manner to help patients with squamous cell NSCLC.

The challenges, of course, are monumental. For patients suffering with this awful disease, advancements cannot come quickly enough. It is, however, heartening to learn about the work being conducted by the brightest minds in oncology.

We are pleased to be able to offer coverage of these developments to those on the front lines of treating patients with lung cancer. Please let us know what you would like to read about these advances as the research unfolds.


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