In one of the largest observational studies of its kind, researchers revealed that a combination of chemotherapy and radiation followed by surgery in patients with stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer improves survival. Patients who undergo chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery had twice the five-year survival rate of those who had only chemoradiation. The researchers looked at various treatment strategies in an effort to identify the best option for overall survival.
Treatment strategies used against this form of lung cancer include chemoradiation therapy; chemoradiation followed by surgery; and surgery followed by chemoradiation. The function of chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery is somewhat contentious, because previous clinical studies have not shown a clear survival benefit who noted that the practice of using chemotherapy and radiation to reduce the extent of cancer prior to surgery was begun in an effort to improve poor survival rates in this group of patients.
The new study discovered that five-year overall survival was 34 percent for patients who received chemoradiation therapy followed by surgery to remove a lobe of the lung.
The researchers say that additional prospective studies are needed to confirm the benefit of chemoradiation prior to surgery and define the standard of care for patients with stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer. The main message to patients is to seek care from a multidisciplinary group of physicians that includes a medical and radiation oncologist, and thoracic surgeon, and who can work together to determine the most appropriate initial treatment strategy.
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