1. What do the statistics about lung cancer indicate?
- In Argentina, the incidence of lung cancer is 10,296 cases (9.8%). This data place lung cancer in fourth place in both sexes.
- Lung cancer mostly affects people between 60 and 65 years. Less than 15% of cases occur in people under 30 years.
2. What are the treatments for lung cancer?
- Targeted therapy. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) plays a role in growth, proliferation and cell motility. EGFR inhibitor drugs were developed (tyrosine kinase inhibitors, TKI) that have been shown to improve survival in patients with advanced disease and recurrences. The status of the biomarker EGFR exons 18, 19, 20 and 21 must be determined in all patients with metastatic NSCLC where administration of a TKI therapy is considered, as this therapy should only be given when there are certain mutations in this gene. Another molecule inhibitor is anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) an oncogene which is positive in about 5 to 13% of patients with NSCLC, and its inhibition has a beneficial impact on survival.
- Immunotherapy, also called biological therapy, is designed to stimulate the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses materials made by the body or made in a laboratory to improve, target, or restore immune system function.
Drugs which block the PD-1 and PD-L1 tumor cells may use natural pathways in the body to help avoid being detected and destroyed by the immune system. For example, they can express a protein called PD-L1 on their surfaces that help them evade the immune system. New drugs that block the PD-L1 or PD-1 protein found on T cells, can help the immune system recognize and attack tumor cells. The anti-PD-1 have been shown to reduce or slow the growth of some tumors.