Lung Cancer clinical trials.

Research and drug discovery is moving very fast for some cancers. Some of the treatments being investigated may be better than the standard of care. That is why it is important to know all your options.  Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate whether a new drug, treatment, or combination of treatments is safe, effective and possibly better than what is commonly being used. Almost all cancer drugs used today by patients were tested and made available through clinical trials.

For many people, particularly those whose cancer has not responded to standard treatments, a clinical trial may be the best available treatment option.

Approximately 14% of all new cancer cases are lung

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells in one of more lung caused by certain DNA mutations. When these cells proliferate, they can become malignant and eventually interfere with lung function. The mutations that lead to lung cancer can be the result of many factors, including the normal aging processes, as well as external factors, such as smoking, asbestos exposure, radon exposure, breathing toxic dust (coal, welding, etc.), and pollution.

Lung cancer is categorized into 3 main types: Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), Small Cell Lung Cancer, and Lung Carcinoid Tumor. Within the NSCLC category, tumors are further classified into three subtypes: adenocarcinoma (the most common subtype), squamous, and large cell carcinoma. NSCLC represents about 85% of lung cancers, and Small Cell lung cancers comprise roughly 10-15% of the cases. Lung Carcinoid tumors are very rare compared with the other types. With respect to prognosis, Small Cell Lung Cancer is more aggressive than NSCLC.  Learn more from the American Cancer Society

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in men and women, besides skin cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Approximately 14% of all new cancer cases are lung cancer, which has a 25% mortality rate. The good news is that lung cancer rates have dropped over the last 50 years due to greater awareness and a large-scale reduction in smoking; however, there is still a need for new, and potentially, curative treatments.

The 3 Main Types of Lung Cancer

1. Non-small Cell Lung Cancer

  • Most common type of lung cancer – approx. 85%
  • Three subtypes including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma and large cell carcinoma

2. Small Cell Lung Cancer

  • 10-15% of lung cancer
  • Also called oat cell cancer

3. Lung Carcinoid Tumor

  • Less than 5% of lung cancers
  • Sometimes called lung neuroendocrine tumors

Learn more from the American Cancer Society

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History of Lung Cancer

Today, lung cancer is one of the leading global health concerns, but just 150 years ago, it represented only 1% of all cancers, based on autopsy analyses. In 1929, German physicist Fritz Linkint noted the connection between lung cancer and smoking, and the 1930 edition of the authoritative Springer Handbook of Special Pathology noted that malignant lung tumors had begun to increase at the turn of the century—perhaps even more so after World War I—with most lung tumors occurring in men, but also increasing in women. It also identified other potential causes of lung cancer, including air pollution; the increase in automobile traffic; exposure to gas in World War I; the influenza pandemic of 1918; and working with benzene or gasoline, although this publication did not give particular importance to cigarette smoking. In 1969, an updated edition of the handbook noted that that chemicals encountered in certain occupations could cause lung cancer. Also during the 1960’s, the link between lung cancer and smoking was officially recognized by the American Cancer Society, and the 1964 Report of the Surgeon General recognized smoking as the hazard it is. Warning labels began appearing on cigarette packs in the 1970s.

Treatment history

Screening tests began in the 1950s with annual chest x-ray films and sputum cytology. The staging classification of lung cancer has improved as technology, including minimally invasive technology, has advanced diagnostics. Chemotherapy and radical radiotherapy was proven in 1970s to reduce tumor size in early stage lung cancer, leading to testing of other regimens.  Chemotherapy offers modest survival improvement for patients with NSCLC, however, more recently approved chemotherapies are better tolerated by patients, resulting in an improved quality of life.

In 1986, the discovery of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) receptor, found on the lungs, was a game-changer for the treatment of lung cancer.  EGFR plays an important role in the growth and spread of NSCLC, making it an ideal therapeutic target. It lead to the development of some of the first of targeted drugs including Iressa (gefitinib), approved in 2003, and Tarceva (erlotinib), approved in 2004.

In 2011, the FDA approved Xalkori (crizotinib), a therapy that targets the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) pathway. Roughly 4% of lung cancer patients have tumors with this mutation. Therefore, the indication for Xalkori is specifically for the treatment of with the EML4-ALK fusion oncogene.

Learn more from the ATS JournalsOxford Journals and

Current Treatment Research

  • Personalized therapy: Researchers are looking at specific features of lung tumors that can predict whether a specific chemotherapy or targeted therapy may be effective. Learn more from
  • Promising results in immunotherapy for NSCLC and the recent approval of Opdivo (nivolumab) have leadto more research on using these types of drugs to help the immune system control NSCLC growth. Learn more from
  • Better techniques for surgery and radiation therapy:  Doctors are finding ways to improve the effectiveness of surgery and radiation therapy, while also reducing the side effects associated withthese procedures.
  • Improved screening. Advances in imaging techniques, such as low-dose, helical CT scanning, are currently being researched, and may help find better ways to diagnose lung cancer early. In the future, molecular features in the blood or sputum may suggest lung cancer is present before it can be seen on a CT scan. Genetic testing to learn which people have a higher risk of lung cancer is also being researched.
  • Stopping tobacco use:  The American Cancer Society  and other organizations, including the federal government, continue to invest in public service announcements regarding the risk of cigarette smoking.
  • Palliative care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current lung cancer treatments in order to improve patients’ quality of life.
  • Learn more from

Personalized therapy is being used to look at specific features of lung tumors to predict effectiveness of specific chemotherapy or a targeted therapy

Why Cure Forward?

Whether you’re seeking information about lung cancer clinical trials or studies related to some other form of cancer, it can be hard to find trials that might be a good match.

When you get started with Cure Forward, your personal Clinical Trial Navigator with help you and you care team build a robust profile inclusive of your full medical history, personal preferences and molecular profile (when applicable), all at no cost. We are able to provide this free service as we focus on building robust profiles so we can match patients with relevant and active clinical trial options, opening the door to advanced treatments and accelerating medical innovation. We work directly with clinical trial recruiters to help introduce their trials to potential candidates.  We update our trial listings frequently to bring current, active studies directly to you.

This is the opposite of scouring the Internet.