The End of Nihilism: Systemic Therapy of Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Vinicius Ernani, Conor E. Steuer, Mohammad Jahanzeb

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States and many other parts of the world. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) comprises 85-90% of lung cancers. Historically, the expected survival of patients with advanced disease has been estimated in months. In recent years, however, lung cancer has come to be seen as a treatable disease with multiple therapeutic options. Enormous advances in the understanding of its pathways and mechanisms have enabled personalized therapy in NSCLC. The evolving approach to therapy focuses on genomic profiling of the tumors to find molecular targets and develop specific agents for individualized therapy. In addition, maintenance therapy has emerged as a valid approach, and the choice of chemotherapy now varies by histology. Most recently, immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors has shown promising results, with impressive durations of response and a tolerable toxicity profile. Together, these discoveries have improved overall survival substantially in patient populations that have access to these advancements. We review the clinical data surrounding these impressive improvements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-168
Number of pages16
JournalAnnual Review of Medicine
StatePublished - Jan 14 2017


  • Advanced NSCLC
  • chemotherapy
  • immunotherapy
  • maintenance therapy
  • targeted therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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