Background. Non-small cell lung cancer commonly presents as locally advanced disease. This category of tumors is heterogeneous. Although some patients clearly benefit from operative management alone, the vast majority (more than 90%) will succumb to their disease within 5 years. In the past decade a large clinical research effort has been undertaken in an attempt to improve on this outcome using a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and operation. Methods. The English-language literature was reviewed using the headings for lung neoplasms and text words combined modality therapy and multimodality therapy. In addition, the bibliographies of relevant articles were reviewed. Emphasis was placed on prospective randomized trials and large phase II studies. We review the rationale, design, and outcome of these trials, including both operative and nonoperative approaches. Results. Several prospective, randomized trials now demonstrate an advantage to combined modality management over radiotherapy or operation alone when a cisplatin-based chemotherapy regimen is incorporated into the treatment plan. This advantage was seen using both operative and nonoperative approaches. Conclusions. Combined modality therapy offers an improved outcome for patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer. Whether both operation and radiotherapy are needed for local control, the best sequence of treatment and the optimal chemotherapy regimen remain to be defined.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine