Lung Cancer

  • Peter R. Twentyman
Part of the Developments in Oncology book series (DION, volume 64)


Lung cancers are generally subdivided into four main types based on classical histological criteria: small cell carcinoma (approx. 25% of lung cancers); adenocarcinoma (30%); squamous (or epidermoid) carcinoma (25%); and large cell carcinoma (15%). The latter three types are frequently grouped together and termed ‘non small cell lung cancer’. The main reason for the division of tumours into’ small cell lung cancer’ (SCLC) and ‘non small cell lung cancer’ (NSCLC) is because of the different treatment policies followed by most centres for the two disease types. For NSCLC the major prognostic factor is whether or not a complete surgical resection can be performed following diagnosis. In the 20% of patients for whom a complete resection is possible the 5 year survival is around 30%. It is debateable whether or not post-operative radio- or chemotherapy is of significant value in this group of patients. In patients for whom complete resection is not possible the long term survival is extremely poor. Although a significant response to chemotherapy may be seen in a minority of patients the duration of remission is usually very short and the treatment induced toxicity can be severe. There is also a role for radiotherapy in palliative relief of symptoms in advanced NSCLC.


Lung Cancer Small Cell Lung Cancer Small Cell Carcinoma Lung Cancer Cell Line Large Cell Carcinoma 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1991

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  • Peter R. Twentyman

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