Lung cancer is the best example of precision medicine

The search for these genetic alterations as therapeutic targets is essential in all patients with lung cancer

November 16, 2021. 12:24 pm

The optimization of massive sequencing studies and their accessibility for all patients are one of the great challenges in the approach to lung cancer. However, lung cancer is the best example of precision medicine. This has been revealed by the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) on the occasion of the World Day against Lung Cancer, which is celebrated every November 17.

Lung cancer is responsible for the highest number of cancer deaths in Spain and worldwide. It is estimated that 29,549 people will be diagnosed in Spain and this tumor will be responsible for the death of 22,930 patients in 2021. About 80 percent of patients who develop lung cancer have a previous history of smoking.

Precision Medicine Example

However, there are many important advances in this tumor. The diagnosis of lung cancer is increasingly accurate, improving its classification thanks to the incorporation of recent endoscopic and imaging techniques. But, above all, at the anatomopathological and molecular level. Specifically, thanks to the incorporation of massive sequencing analysis on the tumor and liquid biopsy. These have made it possible to optimize prognostic and predictive information on the different tumor subgroups. All this in addition to promoting the development of new effective therapeutic targets. In other words, an example of precision medicine.

Likewise, the treatment is progressing in its different strategies: surgery considering endoscopic procedures, radiotherapy including radiosurgery techniques, chemotherapy incorporating maintenance treatment, but, above all, it is necessary to highlight the development in recent years of immunotherapy and therapies directed against molecular targets.

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Talking about immunotherapy, the PD-1 / PD-L1 inhibitors (pembrolizumab, nivolumab, atezolizumab) stand out. Both with or without the combination of CTLA-4 inhibitors (ipilimumab). These have broken into different stages of localized and advanced lung cancer, demonstrating an improvement in the survival of these patients.

On the other hand, progress in the identification of molecular targets in lung cancer has ensured that at the present time we can speak of an example of precision medicine. This is thanks to the development of a multitude of targeted drugs, which have changed the natural history of the disease in many patients. At the present time, the molecular study of these tumors is essential for their correct characterization and treatment.