Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide
At 1.59 million deaths per year globally, lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer mortality, responsible for nearly 1 in 5 cancer deaths.1 In Europe, overall 5-year survival is 12.6%, but prognosis is heavily dependent on the stage of the cancer at diagnosis.2
Late stage diagnoses with distant metastasis comprise 57% of all new lung cases—more than localized, regional, and unstaged combined. Therefore, the most commonly diagnosed lung cancer cases also have the poorest prognoses.3 While treating lung cancer has evolved in recent years (eg, identification of driver mutations), new treatment options are needed—especially for patients with metastatic disease.
Lung cancer classification4,5
- Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (≈85%-90%)
- Non-squamous (large cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma)
- Small cell lung cancer (≈10%-15%)
- Commonly tested mutations: KRAS, EGFR, ALK
Lung cancer at a glance1,5,6
ALK=anaplastic lymphoma kinase; EGFR=epidermal growth factor receptor; KRAS=Kirsten rat sarcoma; NSCLC=non-small cell lung cancer
Researching the role of the immune system in the management of NSCLC
Lung cancer is associated with a high rate of mutations, and research into the potential role of the immune system against lung cancer is ongoing. The interactions between tumour cells and tumour-infiltrating immune cells within the tumour microenvironment have been shown to influence the immune response in NSCLC.7-9 Understanding the role of tumour cells and tumour-infiltrating immune cells may illuminate immune-directed strategies specific to patients with NSCLC.
- Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. http://globocan.iarc.fr. Accessed November 16, 2015.
- Lung Cancer. In: European Lung White Book. European Respiratory Society. 2015. http://www.erswhitebook.org/chapters/lung-cancer/ Accessed November 16, 2015.
- Cancer Research Institute. Lung cancer. http://www.cancerresearch.org/cancer-immunotherapy/impacting-all-cancers/lung-cancer. Last modified October 2014. Accessed February 10, 2015.
- American Cancer Society. Lung cancer (non-small cell). http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003115-pdf.pdf. Last revised March 4, 2015. Accessed March 5, 2015.
- National Cancer Institute. SEER stat fact sheets: lung and bronchus cancer. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/lungb.html. Accessed February 10, 2015.
- Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network. Comprehensive genomic characterization of squamous cell lung cancers. Nature. 2012;489:519-525. PMID: 22960745
- Lawrence MS, Stojanov P, Polak P, et al. Mutational heterogeneity in cancer and the search for new cancer-associated genes. Nature.2013;499:214-218. PMID: 23770567
- Woo EY, Yeh H, Chu CS, et al. Cutting edge: regulatory T cells from lung cancer patients directly inhibit autologous T cell proliferation. J Immunol. 2002;168:4272-4276. PMID: 11970966
- Ho MY, Tang SJ, Sun KH, Yang W. Immunotherapy for lung cancers. J Biomed Biotechnol. 2011;2011:250860. PMID: 21318107
- Hiraoka K, Miyamoto M, Cho Y, et al. Concurrent infiltration by CD8+ T cells and CD4+ T cells is a favourable prognostic factor in non-small-cell lung carcinoma. Br J Cancer. 2006;94:275-280. PMID: 16421594