Research & Education
For many lung cancer patients, chemotherapy is an important part of treatment. Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy lung cancer cells and tumors elsewhere in the body.
Lung cancer chemotherapy may be administered in the following ways:
Before you receive your chemotherapy, our lung cancer team will conduct a procedure called Tumor Molecular Profiling (TMP), in which a small sample of your tumor is removed to help us determine and guide your treatment. Studying the cancer cells' molecular distinctions, specific antibodies, proteins or receptors, is essential to targeting therapy that attacks those unique characteristics and in turn, the cancer itself. At Roswell Park, TMP is performed on-site in our CLIA-certified laboratories. This in-house genetic testing provides the advantage of reliable and faster results. By testing for abnormal proteins that direct the tumor to grow, Roswell Park can then offer the patient a specific targeted drug that blocks that protein and stops the tumor from growing. It's truly personalized medicine.
Current targeted treatments include monoclonal antibodies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, anti-angiogenesis agents and other new drugs not yet widely available that may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy. As a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center — the only one in New York State located outside New York City — RPCI offers patients the very latest therapeutic approaches, long before new lung cancer drugs become routine use elsewhere.
Thoracic Department Chair Todd Demmy, MD, pioneered a new surgical technique for treating lung cancer that allows direct delivery of chemotherapy to the tumor. The technique benefits patients who cannot undergo traditional curative surgery because the tumor has progressed to a more advanced stage. Our surgeons have found in their initial clinical experience that this innovative technique, which they call “lung suffusion,” is safe and merits further study.
The technique uses the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, but rather than circulating the drug throughout the entire body, it is used to temporarily replace blood only in the main artery of the lung, to help protect healthy, non-cancerous tissue. When the 30-minute infusion is complete, the cisplatin is flushed out and normal blood flow resumes.
If this research continues to show promise, it may be expanded to cover patients with other tumor types, different classes of drugs, and patients with earlier stages of cancer.