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Types of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, accounting for the most cancer deaths each year. It is very hard to detect in its early stages and may take years to grow.

Types of Lung Cancers

Lung cancer can form anywhere in the lung tissue, but more than 90 percent of these cancers are thought to arise in the epithelial cells which line the airways. The most common forms of this cancer are:

  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is almost always associated with smoking and comprises less than 20 percent of all lung cases diagnosed. It often starts in the bronchi (near the center of the chest) and it tends to spread throughout the body fairly early in the course of the disease.

    "One of the luckiest days of my life was when Dr. Nagourney agreed to meet with me. He explained the basis for his approach to treating cancer was to obtain a sample of the cancerous tissue and test a wide variety of chemo medicines against it. The chemo(s) that responded the best to eliminating the cancer were then to be used to battle it." Read David Hanbidge’s entire story.
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 80 – 90 percent of all lung cancers. There are three major sub-types of NSCLC:
    • Squamous cell carcinoma tends to be found in the central portions of the lung and is typically associated with smoking.
    • Adenocarcinoma is usually found in the outer part of the lung.
    • Large-cell carcinoma typically grow and spread quickly and can be found in any part of the lung.

  • "By analyzing a piece of my tumor in the laboratory, Dr. Nagourney was able to identify which FDA approved drugs would have the best chance of killing my cancer. The specific test that Dr. Nagourney developed (EVA-PCD assay) has been performed by Rational Therapeutics thousands of times. It seems like such an obvious approach, but it wasn’t even an option that my original doctors had informed me about!" Read Pat Merwin’s entire story.
  • Lung mesothelioma is found in the lining of the lungs. Typically this type of cancer is due to asbestos exposure and it may take up to 50 years for the symptoms to appear.

  • "Upon being diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma (2008), I was told by my oncologist that I could expect to live, at the most, six months to a year, and that the treatment for mesothelioma cancer was only to keep me comfortable!! As I was leaving the doctor’s office, still in shock, I was introduced to Dr. Nagourney, and that is when the miracle began." Read Judith Black’s entire story.

Common Treatments for Lung Cancer

Currently, oncologists base their treatment strategy on standard chemotherapy protocols for specific types of cancer. While lung cancer patients with EGFr or ALK mutations may be eligible for newer targeted therapies, those without mutations will be treated with one of several platinum doublets that combine cisplatin or carboplatin with vinorelbine, paclitaxel, gemcitabine, Docetaxel or pemetrexed. While small cell patients most often receive cisplatin plus etoposide or cisplatin plus irinotecan.

These protocols, developed over years of clinical trials, assign patients to the drugs for which they have the greatest statistical probability of response. Even with the standard expected response rate of 30 percent, that leaves 7 out of 10 patients receiving treatment without benefit.

An October 2012 study published in the journal of Anticancer Research revealed that metastatic lung cancer patients who received treatments chosen by the EVA-PCD functional profile realized a two-fold improvement in response and survival. The following article published by investigators at the National Cancer Institute, utilizing laboratory techniques developed and applied at Rational Therapeutics, correlates survival with the use of the “invitro best regimen” (IVBR). With a 39 percent durable complete remission rate for patients receiving assay “sensitive” therapy, this remains one of the best outcomes in this lethal disease ever reported.

Small Cell Lung Caner Survival Curve

Further Reading:

Survival of Patients with Limited-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer Treated with Individualized Chemotherapy Selected by in Vitro Drug Sensitivity

Just like in the cases of David Hanbidge, Pat Merwin, Judith Black and the other lung cancer patients helped by our staff at Rational Therapeutics, let us help find the right treatment for you. Read their stories.

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