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Key Points

  • image Lung cancer continues to be a highly lethal and extremely common cancer, with 57% of patients presenting with distant metastasis and 5-year survival of 18%. Lung cancer incidence is second only to the incidence of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women, with 222,500 estimated new cases in 2017. Squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma of the lung are the most common subtypes and are rarely found in the absence of a smoking history. Nonsmokers who live with smokers have a 24% increased risk of lung cancer compared to nonsmokers who do not live with smokers.

  • image A multidisciplinary approach to evaluation of NSCLC, with standardized criteria and terminology for diagnosis in cytologic and small biopsy specimens, and routine molecular testing for known mutations, such as EGFR mutations and EML4-ALK fusion oncogenes is now recommended for the evaluation and management of lung nodules due to major advances in targeted therapy. Adequate tissue acquisition at the time of diagnostic workup is critical and facilitates patient care while minimizing the number of procedures to which the patient is subjected.

  • image The terms bronchioloalveolar carcinoma and mixed subtype adenocarcinoma have been eliminated from the classification of lung adenocarcinoma as a result of increased understanding of important clinical, radiologic, pathologic, and genetic differences between mucinous and nonmucinous adenocarcinomas. The classification system delineates a stepwise pathologic progression, from AAH to invasive adenocarcinoma based on the predominant histologic growth patterns.

  • image The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends annual screening for lung cancer with low-dose computed tomography screening in high risk patients. Annual screening averted 14% of lung cancer deaths when applied to a population of asymptomatic adults age 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and are either currently smoking or have quit within the past 15 years. Patients should be healthy enough to tolerate curative treatment, specifically surgery per guidelines, and screening should be discontinued once the patient has not smoked for 15 years or develops a life-limiting health condition, becomes unable to tolerate lung surgery, or is unwilling to undergo curative lung resection. With this approach, it is expected that 50% of diagnosed cancers will be early stage. Screening of patients age 50 years or older with a 20 pack-year or greater history and additional risk factors (as determined by the Tammemagi lung cancer risk calculator or other validated risk scores) that increase the risk of lung cancer to 1.3% or greater should also be considered as part of lung cancer screening programs. In all cases, patient–physician shared decision-making should be undertaken, with a discussion of the risks and benefits of screening.

  • image Assessment of patient risk before thoracic resection is based on clinical judgment and systematic assessment of cardiopulmonary status using established algorithms.

  • image Maximum oxygen consumption (V̇O2max) values provide important additional information in those patients with severely impaired DLCO and forced expiratory volume in 1 second. Values of <10 mL/kg per minute generally prohibit ...

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