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The ideal management of patients with unresectable non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is still developing. Unresectable NSCLC has a high mortality rate and poor prognosis. The development of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and molecular-targeted therapies has been a breakthrough in the treatment. The correct treatment of this patient population is crucial to maximize the clinical benefits without compromising quality of life (QOL). We review the chemoradiotherapies, cytotoxic chemotherapies, immunotherapies, and molecular-targeted therapies available for unresectable NSCLC, focusing on their effects on overall survival, progression-free survival, and QOL. Although cure is the ultimate goal of cancer treatment, it is often difficult to achieve in advanced NSCLC. Biomarker surveillance techniques, such as next-generation sequencing, have made it possible to provide the most appropriate treatment for each patient. This has led to clinically-meaningful improvements in therapies for unresectable NSCLC. The development of new molecular-targeted therapies and the establishment of treatment for patients who acquired drug resistance after initial treatment have a positive impact on patients' long-term survival. ICIs lead the long-term survival that can be considered a cure of some patients with advanced NSCLC, but such curative survival is difficult to achieve with cytotoxic chemotherapies and molecular-targeted therapies.


Seigo Katakura, Shuji Murakami. Clinically-meaningful improvements in therapy for unresectable NSCLC. Expert review of anticancer therapy. 2022 Sep;22(9):927-937

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PMID: 35838638

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