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Non-small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC)

What is Non-small Call Lung Cancer (NSCLC)
Non-small Cell Lung Cancer The NSCLCs account for 80% of all lung cancers and can be further subdivided into squamous-cell carcinoma, large-cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma (which includes bronchioloalveolar-cell carcinoma [BAC]).

At the start of the millennium, it was estimated that there were 10 million new cancer cases worldwide per annum

The causes
The causes of lung cancer are thought to be almost exclusively environmental, although susceptibility is modulated by protective elements such as genetic factors and diet.1

The staging
The staging of lung cancer is based on the size and invasiveness of the primary tumour (T), absence, presence and degree of regional lymph node (N) involvement, and the metastatic spread to distant organs and lymph nodes (M), or TNM system.

In around 5% of cases, usually of early-stage disease, initial presentation is a chance finding during routine examination for other conditions and no symptoms are evident.

Following presentation and diagnosis of NSCLC, thorough examination allows determination of the disease stage to provide a prognosis at the individual patient level.

The treatment
The treatment strategies for NSCLC are principally dictated by clinical stage with modulation according to patient preferences and characteristics such as age and PS

The four primary treatment modalities used in the management of patients with NSCLC are:2

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Combination chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy

Useful links


1. Alberg AJ, Samet JM. Epidemiology of lung cancer. Chest 2003;123:21S–49S.
2. Putnam JB, Fossella FV, Komaki R, eds. Implementation of multidisciplinary care in the treatment of patients with lung cancer. In: Fossella FV, Komaki R, Putnam JB, eds. Lung Cancer. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag; 2003:1-24

Last Updated 10-03-2015