NCCN Publishes 20th Annual Guidelines in NSCLC, Reflecting Advances in Screening, Diagnosis, Radiology, and Systemic Therapies

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David S. Ettinger, MD, FACP, FCCP

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has published the 20th annual edition of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), one of the eight original NCCN Guidelines published in November 1996.

“Since the first NCCN Guidelines for NSCLC were published 20 years ago, there have indeed been many advances in the diagnosis, screening, and treatment of non–small cell lung cancer,” said David S. Ettinger, MD, FACP, FCCP, Alex Grass Professor of Oncology, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, and NCCN Guidelines Panel Chair for NSCLC.

Dr. Ettinger, who has chaired the NCCN Guidelines Panel for NSCLC since 1996, notes major accomplishments in the diagnosis and treatment of NSCLC, including the use of low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan in screening for NSCLC, as well as positron-emission tomography (PET)/CT scan in diagnosis. According to Dr. ­Ettinger, notable radiotherapy advances include stereotactic body radiotherapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy. In surgery, he said, the use of video-assisted thoracic surgery or minimally invasive surgery has been an important advance.

Other Key Advances

“Today, clinicians understand the importance of histology—adenocarcinoma vs squamous cell carcinoma—as well as the use of molecular diagnostic studies,” said Dr. Ettinger. “Systemic therapy has come a long way with innovations in adjuvant and maintenance therapies, as well as the use of bevacizumab [Avastin] and targeted therapies. In the future, we will likely look to further innovation in immunotherapy, as well.”

NCCN currently develops and publishes a library of 60 NCCN Guidelines, covering 97% of malignant cancers. The NCCN Guidelines are developed and updated through an evidence-based process in which the expert panels integrate comprehensive clinical and scientific data with the judgment of the multidisciplinary panel members and other experts drawn from NCCN Member Institutions. Access to the complete library of NCCN Guidelines is available free-of-charge at

“Today, lung cancer is the second most common cancer in both men and women, and NCCN is proud to have played a pivotal role in promoting the optimal care for these patients for 20 years,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN.  ■




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