Lung Cancer Treatment: The Shift to Immunotherapy

lung cancer immunotherapyDuring 2018, Food and Drug Administration has approved 8 new medications for the non-small cell and small cell lung cancer treatment. In recent years, immunotherapy dominates in the clinical trial sphere. Although we still cannot say that all the intricate immunological mechanisms are clear for us, the first of them have already brought promising results. In combination with complementary medicine for managing cancer symptoms, immunotherapy leads to reliable beneficial outcomes with low recurrence rate and high life-quality.

What’s new in the diagnostics?

Biopsy with histological examination of the tumor tissue remains the gold standard for diagnosis of cancer, as it allows precise examination of atypical cells and forms the basis for the subsequent lung cancer treatment. In addition to the confirmation of cancer cells presence, biopsy harvests material for the next-generation sequencing (NGS).

Next-generation sequencing investigates DNA of the tumor and reveals defects that have led to the oncology development. For example, patients with the excessive amount of protein PDL1 on the atypical cells surface are the perfect candidates for the immunotherapy. Such patients with non-small cell adenocarcinoma and squamous cell lung cancer can receive the sole immunotherapy, without adding chemotherapeutic medications. The problem is that standard NGS procedure is invasive and time-consuming; it takes no less than 2.5-3 weeks.

Liquid biopsy is the informative alternative option. This is a novel procedure of identifying circulating DNA of the lung cancer cells in the peripheral blood. This technique allows receiving the result already in 7-10 days. Precision of the liquid biopsy is comparable to the standard NGS procedure.

Liquid biopsy is especially valuable in patients with metastatic lesions (e.g. brain metastases), when open biopsy is connected with the serious health risks. In addition, both blood and plasma can be used for the test.

Supplementing conventional treatment options with the innovative ones

Scientific progress does not reject the conventional lung cancer therapy. Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and continuous observation of the patient after main treatment completion are actively used in the modern oncological hospitals. Nevertheless, conventional therapy is now modified and supplemented by the newer option – immunotherapy. Immunotherapy “switches on” patient’s own antineoplastic defenses.

According to the results of the PACIFIC trial, addition of the consolidation therapy with durvalumab after the chemoradiation therapy gave 12-month overall survival benefit for patients at early cancer stages. Further, the KEYNOTE-189 and IMpower150 trials have demonstrated efficacy of the method at stage IV of the disease (the involved drugs included Keytruda, Atezolizumab, and Avastin).

Immunotherapy is also used in patients with small cell lung cancer. This cancer type demonstrates good response to the chemotherapy, but 100% of patients have the disease relapses over time. Results of the IMpower133 trial show that administration of pembrolizumab in combination with etoposide and platinum-based therapy gives 2 additional months of overall survival.

Immunotherapy may be combined with chemotherapy. Additional medications are influencing positively the immune response so the immunological drugs can recognize and kill cancer cells better.

Treatment in the world’s leading healthcare facilities

Results of the lung cancer therapy, quality of patients’ life and survival rates differ in diverse countries and healthcare institutions. After receiving the FDA approval, innovative technical devices and medications are available only in the selected hospitals. Typically, it is connected with their technical complexity and high value. Due to the continuous development of medical sphere and ongoing scientific research, Germany keeps leading positions in treatment of lung malignancies.

Planning to receive the lung cancer treatment abroad, it is reasonable to use help of Booking Health. Booking Health is the certified medical tourism operator that provides patients from 75 countries with necessary high-technological treatment. Specialists from Booking Health take care about all aspects of undergoing therapy in the foreign country:

  • Choosing the hospital that specialized in lung cancer treatment.
  • Establishing communication with necessary physician.
  • Preparing treatment plan in advance, so you’ll have enough time to investigate it.
  • Providing favorable costs, without additional coefficients for the foreigners (saving up to 50%).
  • Booking the appointment or hospitalization date.
  • Help in buying and forwarding of medical products.
  • Keeping in touch with the hospital after treatment completion (e.g. receiving additional medical reports).
  • Control of financial aspects and return of unspent funds.
  • Booking hotels and plane tickets, help with transfer and services of the medical interpreter.

Send the treatment request via the official Booking Health website, and an experienced medical advisor will contact you the same day.

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