Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage IV NSCLC Treatment
Radiation therapy may be effective in palliating symptomatic patients with local involvement of NSCLC with any of the following:
- Tracheal, esophageal, or bronchial compression.
- Vocal cord paralysis.
- Superior vena cava syndrome.
In some cases, endobronchial laser therapy and/or brachytherapy have been used to alleviate proximal obstructing lesions.
Although EBRT is frequently prescribed for symptom palliation, there is no consensus on which fractionation scheme should be used. Although different multifraction regimens appear to provide similar symptom relief,[52,53,54,55,56,57] single-fraction radiation may be insufficient for symptom relief compared with hypofractionated or standard regimens, as evidenced in the NCT00003685 trial.[Level of evidence: 1iiC] Evidence of a modest increase in survival in patients with a better PS given high-dose radiation therapy is available.[4,58][Level of evidence: 1iiA] In closely observed asymptomatic patients, treatment may often be appropriately deferred until symptoms or signs of a progressive tumor develop.
Evidence (radiation therapy):
- A systematic review identified six randomized trials of high-dose rate brachytherapy (HDREB) alone or with EBRT or laser therapy.
- Better overall symptom palliation and fewer re-treatments were required in previously untreated patients using EBRT alone.[Level of evidence: 1iiC]
- HDREB provided palliation of symptomatic patients with recurrent endobronchial obstruction previously treated by EBRT, when it was technically feasible.
Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation
Treatment options under clinical evaluation include the following:
- New chemotherapy regimens.
- Other systemic agents.
Current Clinical Trials
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.
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