Latest Research on Non-small cell lung cancer

Advancements have been made in treating non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the past few decades. However, primary focus on the new therapies has been making progress and treating non-small cell lung cancer among larger population. The experts are making more efforts towards learning the non-small cell lung cancer. More regarding its different ways of prevention, its best treatment, and providing care to the individuals diagnosed with the disease. New research areas provides new opportunities for the patients by carrying out several clinical trials. Hence, it is essential to communicate with the doctors regarding the best diagnostic treatment and options. Below are some of the latest research concerned with the effective diagnosis and treatment for non-small cell lung cancer patients. 

Personalized drug therapy

Researchers are integrating the mechanism of lung tumor metastasis to predict the effectiveness of a particular drug ​1​. The patients give additional analysis for the tumor samples during the initial diagnostic phase of the disease. Most patients with chemotherapy treatment options have been asked for bigger tumor samples during the biopsy for a diagnostic approach. This later proves to be insufficient for carrying out the additional tests. These non-small cell lung cancer patients are recommended for another biopsy to promote the planned treatment. This is done if it is a form of the clinical trial to help researchers determine more effective treatment options.

Targeted therapy

Researchers are looking forward to improving the effectiveness of surgery and radiation therapy. And while at it they are also working on minimizing side effects of the procedures ​2​. These involve alterations in the mutational treatments known as NRG fusion and HER-2 mutations. More research is underway to determine the drug’s efficacy to help NSCLC patients. This is in case they are undergoing initial targeted therapy, which has stopped working. 


The outcome of giving immunotherapy treatment for the non-small cell lung cancer patients has been quite promising. The recent advancement of multiple types of immunotherapy has been leading the research on utilizing the drugs used in immunotherapy. This is used to control the growth of non-small cell lung cancer within the immune system of the patients ​3​.

Improved techniques for surgery and radiation therapy

Experts are finding ways to enhance the effectiveness of surgery and radiation that helps minimize side effects of the procedure. Studies revealed the comparison for removing early-stage non-small cell lung cancer by lobectomy to remove wedge resection and segmentectomy. It helps in protecting the nearby lung tissues. Stereotactic radiation therapy has been studied for treating non-small cell lung cancer. It focuses on cancer treatment and does not affect the healthy tissues. The advancements promotes the doctors’ ability to combine medication, radiation therapy, and surgery to treat all stages of NSCLC ​4​

Liquid biopsies

This is one of the most advanced research done for treating non-small cell lung cancer. It majorly involves free-floating cancer DNA from blood tests. This helps to determine the molecular changes in the non-small cell lung cancer patients. These advanced techniques are often in use during the initial diagnosis. They are also mostly used when targeted therapies are no longer working, showing acquired resistance towards the treatment. The research contributes to finding new methods for integrating liquid biopsies. This helps to assess response to the treatments or detect the remaining cancer DNA after surgery. 

Improved screening

The improved screening for non-small cell lung cancer patients has shown successful integration in the initial stages while promoting more interest in adhering to the screening process among the suspected individuals for non-small cell lung cancer before showing particular signs and symptoms. The researchers are studying improved screening techniques involving genetic testing and blood tests to determine the individuals with a higher risk of non-small cell lung cancer.

CT scan

The NCI-sponsored National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) has revealed the use of low dose CT scans for screening the non-small cell lung cancer among individuals having a history of heavy smoking. This screening technique has minimized the higher risk of deaths among non-small cell lung cancer patients. The researchers are looking forward to refining the CT screening for predicting the occurrence of cancer.

Machine learning

The advanced digital technology integrates computers to determine the prediction of some of the significant outcomes. The researchers use computer algorithms to develop computer-aided programs capable of identifying non-small cell lung cancer through CT scans rather than communicating with the radiologists or pathologists. Additionally, the artificial intelligence study has revealed that the researchers have provided practical training regarding computer programs for diagnosing the types of lung cancer, showing the accuracy of 97% along with detection of cancer-related genetic mutations. 

Eliminating tobacco consumption

Although there are several methods for the early detection and treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. The adoption of interventions and programs such as stopping smoking and tobacco consumption is thought as the best method to save lives. As it motivates the individuals who do not have the smoking habit and if they possess, they additionally tend to quit this habit. The finishing of smoking habits among non-small cell lung cancer patients have shown efficacy in improving their quality of life, minimizing the side effects and lowering their chance of relapsing towards non-small cell lung cancer. The healthcare team has contributed to eliminating tobacco consumption among chronic smokers who are already suffering from non-small cell lung cancer while enhancing nicotine replacement and other related methods. Also, several other research studies are underway for helping non-small cell lung cancer patients to eliminate tobacco consumption.

Palliative care or supportive care

Several clinical trials are underway to find out more effective ways for treating non-small cell lung cancer that improve the patients’ quality of life and also provide them with a comfortable living environment.

NCI-supported research programs

Several NCI-funded researchers at the NIH campus and regions across the globe have also been integrating towards adopting different techniques for combating the issues of non-small cell lung cancer. Some of the past research is basic while exploring additional questions on the same is the biological underpinnings of cancer and determining related social factors that affect cancer risk. Some research tends to be more clinical, translating the essential information into improved patient outcomes.

 Additionally, ALCHEMIST is a multicenter NCI trial that began in 2014 for patients diagnosed with early stages of non-small cell lung cancer. It aims to check the determination of the addition of targeted therapy after surgery depending upon the genetics of a patient’s tumor that also helps improve the survival rate. 

Lung-MAP trial

Lung-MAP trial is known to be the ongoing multicenter trial conducted for non-small cell lung cancer patients suffering from advanced non-small cell lung cancer and also who did not respond to any prior treatment. In this trial, the non-small cell lung cancer patients are mainly assigned to particular targeted therapy depending upon the genetic makeup of the tumor cell.

Small Cell Lung Cancer Consortium has also contributed to coordinating efforts and provided a network for small cell lung cancer investigators focusing on preclinical studies of non-small cell lung cancer.

NCI has provided funds for five lung cancer Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (Lung SPOREs). Moreover, these programs majorly contribute to sorting out the primary scientific findings into clinical settings. Each SPORE has multiple lung cancer projects underway.

Clinical trials

Additionally, the NCI have provided several funds across the globe regarding the determination of early- and late-phase clinical trials that contributed to the development of new treatments and improving the care quality among non-small cell lung cancer patients. The clinical trials available for non-small cell lung cancer involve prevention, screening, treatment, and small cell lung cancer prevention, screening, and also treatment.

Quality of Life

One of the reports from Yale Cancer Centre has revealed the integration of molecular targeted therapies and immunotherapies for non-small cell lung cancer that have improved the quality of life of the non-small cell lung cancer patients. Most of the advanced cases of non-small cell lung cancer show resistance towards the current treatment and so make adequate progress. Several researchers have implicated the advanced therapies and related combinations developed for non-small cell lung cancer for combating the issues and explaining the current, informative approach regarding resistance mechanism and significance of incorporating genomic analysis into clinical studies. The researchers also emphasize the future role of administering neoadjuvant and maintenance combination therapy approaches for curing the initial stages of non-small cell lung cancer ​5​. Researchers have also contributed to the successful development of rational combination therapies, which are reliable predictive biomarkers to provide specific and clear-cut strategies for every patient. 

Improved Outcomes

The significant impact on the long-term outcome for non-small cell lung cancer also utilizes rational combination therapies combating with the initial phases of non-small cell lung cancer to increase tumor elimination. The implications on the latest insights towards the management of non-small cell lung cancer aims for focusing on the significance of personalized combination immunotherapy-based regimens to improve different outcomes.

The latest researchers expect a continued trajectory of improved outcomes for non-small cell lung cancer by expanding and investing in collaborative research while utilizing big data sets between industry, academia, government, and other non-profit organizations considered crucial bodies in enhancing the journey towards a cure of non-small cell lung cancer. The researchers at the Centre for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics at Case Western Reserve University also utilized artificial intelligence (AI) to identify patterns on computed tomography (CT) scans, offering new opportunities to treat the non-small cell lung cancer patients.


  1. 1.
    Wang M, Herbst RS, Boshoff C. Toward personalized treatment approaches for non-small-cell lung cancer. Nat Med. Published online August 2021:1345-1356. doi:10.1038/s41591-021-01450-2
  2. 2.
    Imyanitov EN, Iyevleva AG, Levchenko EV. Molecular testing and targeted therapy for non-small cell lung cancer: Current status and perspectives. Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology. Published online January 2021:103194. doi:10.1016/j.critrevonc.2020.103194
  3. 3.
    Kerr KM, Bibeau F, Thunnissen E, et al. The evolving landscape of biomarker testing for non-small cell lung cancer in Europe. Lung Cancer. Published online April 2021:161-175. doi:10.1016/j.lungcan.2021.02.026
  4. 4.
    Chaft JE, Rimner A, Weder W, Azzoli CG, Kris MG, Cascone T. Evolution of systemic therapy for stages I–III non-metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. Published online April 28, 2021:547-557. doi:10.1038/s41571-021-00501-4
  5. 5.
    Cascone T, William WN Jr, Weissferdt A, et al. Neoadjuvant nivolumab or nivolumab plus ipilimumab in operable non-small cell lung cancer: the phase 2 randomized NEOSTAR trial. Nat Med. Published online February 18, 2021:504-514. doi:10.1038/s41591-020-01224-2