Review Article

The continuing role of chemotherapy for advanced non-small cell lung cancer in the targeted therapy era

Zarnie Lwin, Jonathan W. Riess, David Gandara


There have been remarkable advances in the targeted treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) over the past several years. Survival outcomes are steadily improving as management paradigms shift in the diagnosis and treatment of advanced NSCLC. Customizing treatment based on histology and molecular typing has become a standard of care in this era of targeted therapy. While new chemotherapeutic agents have proven effective, the pivotal role of platinum-based chemotherapy doublets has been confirmed. Maintenance chemotherapy has become an option, but who to employ it in remains unclear in the real-world setting. Efforts to overcome resistance to targeted agents are ongoing utilizing combination regimens of chemotherapy plus targeted agents, but optimizing combination strategies needs further exploration. This review highlights recent developments in novel chemotherapeutics and in chemotherapy strategies over the past two years. Despite advances in molecular medicine, there remains an essential role for chemotherapy in advanced NSCLC, even in the recent targeted therapy era.

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