Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

There are two main types of lung cancers: Small cell lung cancer and Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Although both cancers affect the lungs, they have significant differences in the way they are treated and the course of the disease.  The most common type of lung cancer is non-small cell lung cancer, occurring in 8 of 10 cases.

Types of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

NSCLC is a type of cancer that begins with the epithelial cells of the lungs, which is the inner lining of these organs, including the breathing channels. These cancer cells initially appear only as nodules. As it grows, it can invade the surrounding structures; from the lymph nodes in the chest, spreading to distant organs.

The most common types of NSCLC are called based on histology (the type of lung tissue):

Squamous cell carcinoma: Caused by squamous cells that look thin and flattened like herringbone. It is also called epidermoid carcinoma. This lung cancer begins in thin, flat squamous epithelial cells that line the airways of the lungs.

Adenocarcinoma: Caused by cells that show secretory properties. The main reason for the development of lung adenocarcinomas is smoking tobacco, but this type of cancer can often occur in non-smokers, women and younger ages.

Large cell carcinoma: A lung cancer, when viewed under a microscope, with large and abnormal cells.

Adenosquamous carcinoma: Cancer that starts from cells that appear flattened under a microscope and also has glandular features.

Pleomorphic, sarcomatoid, or sarcomatous carcinoma: A group of cancers that spread with different types of cancer cells under a microscope.Carcinoid tumor: Cancer that grows slowly, starts from cells (neuroendocrine) that secrete hormones as a result of nervous stimulation.


What is Early Stage, Advanced Stage?

Once cancer diagnosis is confirmed, its stage should be determined. Staging is a classification made by doctors based on the spread of cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer has five stages, from zero to four. As the number grows, the severity of the disease increases. The appearance and treatment will vary depending on the stage. Stage 4 is not generally curable, so its treatment is aimed at reducing symptoms, and to prolong life by using targeted drugs, chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy. Lung cancer at a small early stage usually does not cause symptoms. When the disease grows, it interferes with the normal function of the lungs, causing symptoms such as hemoptysis (coughing blood), shortness of breath or pain. It can also damage surrounding tissues.

Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment

The most recent and important momentum in the studies for the treatment of the disease was done by determining the human genome structure and understanding the biology of the tumor. NSCLC therapy may include surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy. Targeted therapy is intended to destroy or interfere with genes and proteins that control cancer, and examples of those are EGFR, ALK, MET, FGFR, ROS, NTRK, BRAF, KRAS and HER-2.

Lung Cancer Quiz

There are many targeted therapeutic drugs approved for NSCLC, but research is ongoing to find more proteins to target. These genes and targets are usually found using genomic testing, including liquid biopsies. Massive Bio can guide you through diagnostic and treatment options that you may not have known before, including genomic testing and clinical trials. Contact us at or +1 844-627-7246 at any time.

Cancer Blog Lung Cancer

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Previous reading
Advanced Stage Pancreatic Cancer
Next reading
Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma