Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States, despite decreases in lung cancer mortality rates beginning in 1991 for the male population and decreases beginning in 2003 for female population.
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States, despite decreases in lung cancer mortality rates beginning in 1991 for the male population and decreases beginning in 2003 for female population.1From 2006 to 2010, lung cancer death rates declined by 2.9% per year in men and by 1.4% per year in women.1This decline primarily reflects historical differences in patterns of smoking uptake and smoking cessation between the sexes during the past several decades.1Despite these declines, however, an estimated 224,210 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2014,1with an estimated 159,260 deaths from lung cancer expected, accounting for approximately 27% of all cancer deaths.1
Average survival rates for lung cancer diagnosed during 2003 to 2009 were 43% (1-year) and 17% (5- year). The 5-year survival rate for lung cancer diagnosed at a localized stage is 54%, but most lung cancers (85%) are diagnosed at later stages.1
Among patients with lung cancer, at least 75% have non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and half of those patients present with stage 4 metastatic disease.2Despite the availability of new agents for treatment of NSCLC, it is still associated with a 5-year survival rate of only 15%.2 Overall survival for patients with stage 3B or 4 disease is approximately 10 months to 12 months.2
Although survival rates for patients with NSCLC have not yet changed substantially, the advent of targeted therapies has shifted treatment paradigms for metastatic NSCLC.
Identification of molecular aberrations in patients with NSCLC will allow for prediction of individual response to therapy and should improve treatment outcomes, including survival rates.