Treatment for Lung Cancer

Lung cancer treatments—surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy—may be used alone or in combination. The choice of treatment depends on a number of factors, including the size and location of the tumor, whether the cancer is small cell or non-small cell, the physical condition of the person who is being treated, and whether the cancer has spread to or beyond the lymph nodes.

Because of the complexity of lung cancer treatment, discussion of the options should involve a multidisciplinary team of experts that includes a pulmonologist, a thoracic surgeon, medical and radiation oncologists, and other health professionals.

Newer Approaches to Lung Cancer Treatment

One innovative approach being tested for the treatment of lung cancer is vaccination. Researchers are studying a vaccine known as human melanoma antigen-A3 (MAGE-A3) Antigen-Specific Cancer Immunotherapeutic (ASCI), which appears to trigger the patient's immune system to identify and attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.

Preliminary results from an ongoing clinical trial of this vaccine, called MAGRIT (MAGE-A3 as Adjuvant, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Immunotherapy), were promising. As of 2011, the trial is still ongoing.

In addition to this experimental strategy, a number of drugs are being tested to see whether they can reduce the risk of lung cancer in people at high risk (mainly smokers and people who smoked for many years before quitting).

Publication Review By: Peter B. Terry, M.D., M.A.

Published: 13 Sep 2011

Last Modified: 27 May 2015