Combination of radiotherapy and targeted therapies in the treatment of locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer
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Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world. One third of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are diagnosed with locally or regionally advanced unresectable disease at presentation. Currently, in this stage of disease, a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy is the standard treatment approach for patients with good performance status, and concomitant chemo-radiotherapy has demonstrated to be the best therapeutic approach. However, despite improvements in treatment, local tumor control remains suboptimal and distant metastases remain the major site of failure. The diversity of molecular abnormalities in NSCLC may partly contribute to its resistance to therapy. It is therefore widely accepted that one approach to improve the efficacy of cancer therapy is the development of rational combinations of anticancer agents that may exhibit synergistic interactions. The introduction of several biologic agents represents an important advance in the management of NSCLC and some of them have shown to have a synergistic effect when given in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy in preclinical and in clinical models. In the present review we discuss the rationale and the feasibility of these combinations and the first results available from clinical trials.