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Lung Cancer Fight Club: Some Innovations That Are Redefining Patient Outcomes

Lung Cancer, the second most common type of cancer and the deadliest worldwide, continues to be a major health concern that affects millions of people. With its devastating impact on patients and their families, the quest for innovative solutions to improve patient care has never been more pressing.

On September 22nd, the Champalimaud Foundation is organizing the first edition of Lung Cancer Fight Club, an event dedicated to bringing together colleagues that work within the lung cancer sphere. The goal is to encourage a stimulating discourse on prominent topics, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and therapy, in order to contribute to advancements in public health policies and interventions, as well as providing improved care to our patients.

With this conference in mind, we thought it would be a fitting opportunity to share some insights, gathered by 2Logical, from 4 physicians that work in the lung cancer field, on the latest innovations that are transforming patient care.

Although the number of lung cancer cases is on the rise, there is a significant amount of innovation happening within this field of oncology. This innovation is not only occurring in the advanced stages of the disease, as is typically the case, but also in early stages. These advancements have the potential to fundamentally change how this disease is treated.

Advancements in the treatment landscape for early disease

David Araújo, MD and Encarnação Teixeira, MD experts in pulmonology, emphasize the groundbreaking findings from the ADAURA study, highlighting the significant impact of using Osimertinib as an adjuvant treatment in stages Ib-IIIa EGFR+ NSCLC patients. This study reveals that adjuvant osimertinib treatment offers a remarkable ≈50% reduction in the risk of mortality for fully resected EGFR+ patients. This method not only prolongs life but also enhances progression-free disease, contributing to the improvement of the paradigm of lung cancer treatment.

In line with this, the role of immunotherapy in early-stage lung cancer is becoming more significant. Dr. Filipa Macedo, Hospital Assistant at Centro Hospitalar de Setúbal, mentions studies such as IMPower010 and Keynote-091, where adjuvant immunotherapy significantly impacted survival rates in early stage disease. In addition, the increasing relevance of using immunotherapy in the neoadjuvant setting has also been demonstrated in the CheckMate816 and NADIM clinical trials. The AEGEAN and IMpower030 trials also showed the value of introducing IO in both the neoadjuvant and adjuvant setting. Nevertheless, the most appropriate approach in immunotherapy, in each specific patient, still remains to be defined.

The game changers in Lung Cancer treatment

Dr. Fernanda Estevinho, oncologist at Hospital Pedro Hispano in Matosinhos, highlights the proactive approach adopted by PULMONALE, in which a pilot screening project was designed, to detect lung cancer at its earliest stage, offering a vital chance for early intervention. The European Medicines Agency's approval of neoadjuvant treatment with nivolumab and chemotherapy for select patients with NSCLC PD-L1 ≥ 1% also demonstrated a reduction in the risk of death, impacting disease trajectory for these patients.

In the relentless battle against lung cancer, these transformative insights and innovations further contribute to increasing the life expectancy and quality of life of patients living with this disease. Due to the convergence of targeted therapies, immunotherapy and early interventions, the landscape of lung cancer care continues to evolve. An increase in promotional investment of 37.1% across Portugal, Spain, and Italy and in the number of clinical trials in this field, highlights the commitment of health and pharmaceutical companies to continue the improvement of patient care in the lung cancer field.


Supporting these insights, Inês Piçarra, Manager of the Business Insights department at 2Logical, with over 15 years of experience in lung cancer studies, believes that "this innovation is already noticeable in the studies we have been conducting. There is now a significant focus on earlier stages of the disease, specifically in studies to assess the recommended treatment in adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings. These studies are already showing effective changes to the therapeutic approach for these patients. According to feedback from various doctors, we can soon look at the treatment of lung cancer patients with much more optimism."

In addition, Inês highlights the optimism expressed by several doctors regarding the implementation of screenings in an area where, unfortunately, most diagnoses occur at an advanced stage of the disease.


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