Lung Cancer Treatment & Research: Latest Breakthroughs

By Dr. Sajjan Rajpurohit in Thoracic Oncology , Cancer Care / Oncology

Sep 18 , 2023 | 3 min read

Lung cancer continues to be a formidable global health challenge, causing significant morbidity and mortality. However, recent years have witnessed remarkable advancements in lung cancer research and treatment, offering hope to patients and healthcare professionals alike. In this blog, we will explore some of the latest breakthroughs in lung cancer research and treatment that are shaping the landscape of oncology.

Precision Medicine and Targeted Therapies

An exciting development in lung cancer treatment is the emergence of precision medicine and targeted therapies. Traditional chemotherapy is effective but often has significant side effects due to its non-specific nature. Targeted therapies, on the other hand, focus on specific genetic mutations or molecular abnormalities present in cancer cells. Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) inhibitors, like osimertinib, have shown remarkable efficacy in treating lung cancers with EGFR mutations. Similarly, Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) inhibitors, such as crizotinib, have demonstrated significant benefits in patients with ALK-positive lung cancer. These targeted therapies not only improved treatment outcomes but also enhanced the quality of life for lung cancer patients.


Immunotherapy revolutionized cancer treatments by harnessing the body's immune system to fight against cancerous cells. Immune checkpoint inhibitors, like pembrolizumab and nivolumab, have shown impressive results in lung cancer patients by blocking proteins that prevent immune cells from recognizing and attacking cancer cells. PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors have been approved for the treatment of first-line and second-line advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Additionally, combination therapies combining checkpoint inhibitors with other drugs or radiation have shown promise in enhancing treatment efficacy.

Liquid Biopsies

Traditional tissue biopsies have been the gold standard for diagnosing and characterizing lung cancer. However, they can be invasive and sometimes challenging to obtain, especially in cases where the tumour is not easily accessible. Liquid biopsies offer a non-invasive alternative by analyzing circulating tumour DNA and other biomarkers in the blood.

Liquid biopsies have proven invaluable in monitoring treatment response, detecting tumour recurrence, and identifying genetic mutations responsible for drug resistance. This approach enables oncologists to make informed decisions about treatment adjustments in a timely manner.

CAR-T Cell Therapy

Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy (CAR-T therapy) is a groundbreaking immunotherapy that involves genetically modifying a patient's T cells to recognize and attack cancer cells more effectively. While CAR-T therapy has shown significant success in treating blood cancers, its application in solid tumours like lung cancer is still under investigation.

Researchers are working on refining CAR-T cell therapy to overcome the challenges posed by the lung tumour microenvironment. Promising preclinical studies and ongoing clinical trials have instilled hope that CAR-T cell therapy might become a viable treatment option for lung cancer in the near future.

Early Detection and Screening

Early detection is crucial for improving lung cancer outcomes. Low-dose computed tomography (CT) screening has emerged as a powerful tool to identify lung cancer at its earliest stages when it is more amenable to curative treatments.

Screening programs targeted at high-risk individuals, such as heavy smokers and those with a family history of lung cancer, have shown potential in reducing lung cancer mortality. Integrating risk assessment tools and implementing screening initiatives can play a pivotal role in detecting lung cancer in its early and more treatable stages.

Radiotherapy Advancements

Radiotherapy remains a key component of lung cancer treatment, either as a primary therapy or in combination with surgery and chemotherapy. Recent technological advancements, such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), allow for precise and targeted delivery of radiation, minimizing damage to healthy tissues.

SBRT, in particular, has proven highly effective for treating early-stage lung cancer in patients unsuitable for surgery. Moreover, combining radiotherapy with immunotherapy has shown synergistic effects, leading to improved treatment outcomes in certain cases.


The landscape of lung cancer research and treatment is rapidly evolving, bringing hope to patients and their families. Precision medicine, targeted therapies, immunotherapy, liquid biopsies, CAR-T cell therapy, early detection, and advancements in radiotherapy have all contributed to significant progress in the fight against lung cancer.

As we continue to explore these breakthroughs and develop innovative approaches, collaboration between researchers, clinicians, and patients remains vital. Staying abreast of the latest advancements and adopting a patient-centric approach helps us move closer to the goal of defeating lung cancer and improving the lives of those affected by this challenging disease.