The Benefits of Achieving Stable Disease in Advanced Lung Cancer
July 01, 2003ByFiona H. Blackhall, MD, PhD|Frances A. Shepherd, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Karen Kelly has written atimely discussion on the clinicalbenefit of achieving stabledisease in advanced non–smallcelllung cancer (NSCLC). The goalsof current therapy are to palliate symptoms,optimize quality of life (QOL),and prolong survival. It is argued thattumor shrinkage may not be mandatoryto achieve these goals, particularlyin the evaluation of moleculartargeted therapies that may be cytostaticrather than cytotoxic in theirmechanism of action. However, stabledisease is not regarded as evidenceof therapeutic efficacy byregulatory authorities. Furthermore, ifbased on radiologic measurements Continued on page 968.alone, this designation encompasses aheterogeneous population that includespatients who demonstrate unequivocaltumor shrinkage as well asmany with tumor growth. Therefore,the case is presented to define stabledisease in terms of clinical benefit byincorporating alternative trial endpoints such as symptom control, QOL,or biologic end points.