Hope for progress after 40 years of futility? Novel approaches in the treatment of advanced stage III and IV non-small-cell-lung cancer: Stereotactic body radiation therapy, mediastinal lymphadenectomy, and novel systemic therapy

Simon Fung Kee Fung, Graham W Warren, Anurag K Singh
Department of Radiation Medicine, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, University at Buffalo School of Medicine, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, New York, 14263, USA.


Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains a leading cause of cancer mortality. The majority of patients present with advanced (stage III-IV) disease. Such patients are treated with a variety of therapies including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Despite decades of work, however, overall survival in this group has been resistant to any substantial improvement. This review briefly details the evolution to the current standard of care for advanced NSCLC, advances in systemic therapy, and novel techniques (stereotactic body radiation therapy [SBRT], and transcervical extended mediastinal lymphadenectomy [TEMLA] or video-assisted mediastinal lymphadenectomy [VAMLA]) that have been used in localized NSCLC. The utility of these techniques in advanced stage therapy and potential methods of combining these novel techniques with systemic therapy to improve survival are discussed.

Keywords: Image-guided radiation therapy, non-small-cell lung cancer, targeted therapy, temla, vamla.