Ramaswamy Govindan, MD | Authors

Clinical Applications of The Cancer Genome Atlas Project (TCGA) for Squamous Cell Lung Carcinoma

September 16, 2013

We summarize here key findings from the comprehensive analysis of squamous cell lung cancer by The Cancer Genome Atlas group and discuss the clinical implications of these findings.

Influenza Vaccination in Patients With Cancer: an Overview

November 15, 2010

Influenza infection is a potential cause of additional morbidity and mortality in patients who are immunocompromised because of cancer or its treatment. Of particular note, influenza infection may delay or interrupt chemotherapy and necessitate hospitalization. Successful immunization depends on an intact immune system that can produce antibodies in response to antigen exposure. Patients with cancer often have a suppressed immune system, resulting from their disease and/or immunosuppressive therapies, and as a consequence they may have a suboptimal serologic response to influenza vaccination. Since vaccination is the only proven method for preventing influenza infection, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends seasonal influenza vaccination for adults without contraindications who have disease- or medication-related immunosuppression. Patients with cancer should be given the trivalent inactivated vaccine. Preliminary data suggest that administering the vaccine between cycles of chemotherapy may yield the best results.

Time to Move Beyond Clinical and Pathologic Classification of BAC

September 22, 2010

Bronchioloalveolar carcinoma (BAC) is a unique subtype of lung adenocarcinoma that has received increasing attention in recent years. Levy and colleagues have provided a comprehensive review of the clinical and pathologic characteristics of this disease, as well as the clinical evidence available to guide treatment of patients with BAC.

Lung Cancer in ‘Never-Smokers’: A Unique Entity

January 16, 2010

Lung cancer in “never-smokers” constitutes only a small proportion of patients with lung cancer. Nevertheless, the topic has recently attracted a good deal of attention. Initially this was due to the fact that never-smokers with lung cancer had better outcomes with epidermal growth factor receptor–tyrosine kinase (EGFR-TK) inhibitors, compared to tobacco smokers with lung cancer. More recently the identification of molecular changes unique to lung cancer in never-smokers has generated further interest in this disease. These findings have the potential to enhance our knowledge of lung cancer biology and lead to the development of new, more effective treatments for lung cancer. In this review, we summarize the existing body of knowledge on lung cancer in never-smokers.

Practical Approach to the Treatment of Locally Advanced NSCLC: Controversies in Systemic Therapy

November 19, 2008

Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for more than 85% of all patients with lung cancer.[1] A third of patients with newly diagnosed NSCLC have locally advanced disease.

The Role of Surgery in Stage III Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer

April 30, 2008

In this edition of Clinical Quandaries, Ramalingam et al present a 67-year-old man who seeks care for a new, asymptomatic left upper lobe lung mass, which was found incidentally on a routine chest x-ray as part of a preoperative work-up for an elective surgery. Further staging studies included a computed tomography (CT) scan of the chest and a positron-emission tomography (PET) scan followed by a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the liver. Pathology from a fine-needle aspiration biopsy of the left lingular lesion was consistent with poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma and immunohistochemical stains consistent with a lung primary. The left lingular lesion and the prevascular lymph node were felt to be the only sites of involvement, making this stage IIIA (T1, N2, M0) lung cancer.

Lung Cancer-Related Brain Metastases: Further Considerations

January 31, 2008

Despite the high prevalence of brain metastases in patients with metastatic lung cancer, these patients have been excluded from enrollment in clinical trials of new therapeutic drugs. The reasons for exclusion have centered on concerns that the blood-brain barrier may impede drug delivery into brain metastases, that brain metastases confer a dismal survival for metastatic lung cancer patients, and that brain metastases carry risk for cerebrovascular hemorrhage. A focused, updated review of these issues, however, clearly shows that these particular concerns are unwarranted. An extensive review of clinical trials on the efficacy of chemotheraputic agents against lung cancer brain metastases is also provided. This collective information describes an area in need of therapeutic development and supports an initiative to evaluate novel targeted therapies for lung cancer brain metastases.

Locally Advanced, Unresectable Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer

December 01, 2007

A significant proportion of patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) present with locally advanced, unresectable disease. For the most part, fit patients with this diagnosis are treated with combined-modality therapy. Relatively few are rendered resectable. Over the past two decades, combination chemotherapy and radiation, preferably concurrent chemoradiation, has emerged as the standard of care. However, survival gains have been offset, to some extent, by local, normal-tissue, in-field toxicity, particularly esophagitis and pneumonitis.