Lung cancer: one in two people will benefit from the new therapies

Often be petrified of lung cancer and death only a few months between the diagnosis. But now the forecast for the most dangerous cancer changes. New methods to identify the genome of the tumor, where it is vulnerable, and it matched the drugs target.

Lung cancer is considered to be particularly dangerous because the chances of recovery are very poor: The Five-year survival rate of women is 21 percent, from men, even only 16. “Compared to breast cancer or colorectal cancer is lung cancer, the most deadly,” Christian Grohé, chief doctor of the clinic of pneumology at the Protestant lung clinic in Berlin. “70 percent of patients will not be at the time of diagnosis of curable,” says the specialist for the lungs of the German cancer society.

Lung cancer Screening has proven benefits

Why lung cancer is so fatal, for two reasons:

1. The symptoms appear very late in the day, some coughing up blood and severe shortness of breath. The lung has a bit of pain fibers, so that an advanced Tumor hurts often. This is particularly tricky and therefore, lung cancer is diagnosed often only in the late stage.

2. Early detection via lung screening yet) no Fund performance is, however, (.

The Benefit of lung cancer Screening, similar to how there is the case of colon or breast cancer, until Recently, was controversial. “A current study, the Nelson Trial, could not, however, make it clear that patients (over 55 years old and former or active cigarette Smoking) can benefit from annual Screening,” says C. Grohé, The scientific basis, would be given now.

However, for a broad-based lung cancer screening program in Germany would need much more specialized and certified lung cancer centers that perform this study and the results can be analyzed. In addition, a Smoking cessation program, the patient is a prerequisite that the health insurance companies may cover the cost of the investigation. Because many of those Affected were still active smokers, the expert adds.

Three good news in lung cancer

Early detection by the insurance although there is still. Nevertheless, there are positive developments for the 55,000 patients per year in Germany, the diagnosis of lung cancer:

1. The increase of Knowledge in the genetics and immunology of lung cancer is enormous.

2. The molecular diagnostics market on the basis of a detailed genetic analysis of the cancer cells as well as immune diagnostics can identify the tumor under the form of largely and more accurately treat help.

2. Based on these results, modern drugs can be used, either as a tablet is administered, or as an antibody therapy by injection.

“So, we can convert many of the currently incurable patients in a well-controllable stage with a very good quality of life, which is extremely gratifying,” says lung cancer specialist.

Two new forms of therapy – targeted treatment and immune therapy

Under the new, targeted therapies, especially tyrosine kinase inhibitors play a role. “These drugs are for patients that have a cancer that was mediated by a certain pathway,” explains Christian Grohé. This pathway is very specific to the block. Classic example of so-called EGFR-mutations (EGFR stands for epidermal growth factor Receptor).

About Erlotinib, Osimertinib and Afatinib are approved for several drug. “The tablets are taken daily, are very well tolerated, and ten to 15 percent of our patients (with the appropriate Mutation) will benefit in the longer term”.

Immune therapy with antibodies

In addition, the immune system can be targeted. Known about a new Generation of drugs, Immune Checkpoint inhibitors. Lever Tarnstrategien of the cancer cells and thus make the Tumor to the immune system visible and vulnerable. These new antibody therapies can be used alone or in combination with standard chemotherapy are used, depending on the tumor subtype.

“Interestingly, this effect especially for the patients for whom targeted therapy is not successful,” reported the expert from the practice. The therapy is carried out once or twice a month by means of an Infusion. “30 percent of the patients benefit from a Checkpoint-Blockade over the long term,” says lung cancer specialist.

New drugs as monotherapy or in combination with chemotherapy

But perhaps the most innovative drugs could replace the otherwise often onerous chemotherapy? For some patients, the immunotherapy is suitable as a mono therapy, in the other, they would be combined with the traditional chemotherapy, says Christian Grohé. “Overall, the patients benefit, because the immune therapy has much fewer side effects than chemotherapy, and new therapeutic options.”

Lung cancer patients have better prognosis

Overall, the expert sees the development for patients with lung cancer positive: “in the past, lung cancer was a poorly curable unit, and the prognosis was very bad. Has now improved significantly.“ Because the cancer medicine now knows a variety of different forms of lung cancer, the response to targeted treatments.

Therefore, it is important to: Prior to the commencement of any systemic therapy of Tumor molecular needs to be tested pathologically, the detected immune status and treatment planned accordingly. Thereafter, oncologists select the appropriate, a new medication, you may be combined with classical chemotherapeutic agents.

Access for all to the new therapies

The prerequisite for this is that the new treatments reach the patient, was promoted, among other things, the national network Genomic medicine, nNGM, of the German cancer aid. This will ensure the conclusion of previously University-based cancer centers, nationwide, every Patient has access to the new diagnostics and therapies. “Lung cancer is already the leader,” says Christian Grohé. Patients with advanced lung cancer should here, according to genetic analysis and immune status among the variety of new drugs the right for you, the right sequence and combination can be found and sustained by the very best therapy option benefit.