What are the treatment options for non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

Updated: Jun 05, 2020
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Surgery is the treatment of choice for patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) stages I through IIIA. [11] In addition, patients with resected lung cancer have a high risk of relapse and so are treated with adjuvant chemotherapy. [78] Patients with stage IIIB and IV NSCLC are usually offered chemotherapy with the option of surgery. Molecular-targeted therapy plays an increasingly important role in the treatment of advanced NSCLC.

Radiation is a reasonable option for treatment in patients who are not candidates for surgery. The role of adjuvant radiation therapy after resection of the primary tumor remains controversial.

See Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment Protocols. Go to Oncology Decision Point for expert commentary on NSCLC treatment decisions and related guidelines.

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