Radiation therapy is key in treating patients with small cell and non-small cell lung cancer, explained Terence T. Sio, MD, MS, radiation oncologist and assistant professor of radiation oncology at the Mayo Clinic.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis when we are combining both male and female, and it actually has a very high mortality rate. The majority of the lung cancer, being non-small cell lung cancer, are being diagnosed at stage III or stage IV. Oftentimes with nonmetastatic lung cancer, being in small cell and non-small cell lung cancer, radiation has a very important role in the multidisciplinary care for our patients and is actually integral and curative.
More research has been done and [we're] discovering that with radiation therapy, there is also interactions with, for example, immunotherapy and our immune systems. In other ways, radiotherapy may help the locoregional control and, in some way, maybe in the future we can also help impact the distant control of the disease. That means that regarding, for example, oligometastatic disease in non-small cell lung cancer, at least, that there are also other methods showing that radiotherapy as a consolidative method for both intra-thoracic application and also with distant metastases may have a role in the care in the future.
So yes, among systemic therapy and radiation therapy and also surgery, I think radiation therapy is going to be very important in the care for our management of lung cancer patients.