Purpose and Design: Stage IIIA non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) is composed of regionally advanced yet potentially resectable disease. Many trials have evaluated a variety of therapeutic strategies. Most have been single-arm phase II trials, although a number of comparative phase III trials have also been performed. This review critically evaluates the existing literature on the treatment of stage IIIA NSCLC, particularly the various multimodality approaches that have been used. Results: A review of the existing literature does not establish the optimal treatment of stage IIIA NSCLC. Although radiation therapy alone remains the most commonly administered therapy for apparently unresectable disease, the status of radiation as a "standard" therapy can be seriously challenged based on existing data. Similarly, although a number of studies have established that surgical resection is clearly feasible in selected patients with stage IIIA disease, the efficacy of surgery also remains to be definitively established. Many studies have explored neoadjuvant chemotherapy, either in conjunction with radiation or surgery, with results that are best described as conflicting and controversial. Conclusions: Without question, randomized phase III trials are required at this time to define what is to be considered optimal treatment. An attempt is made to define the most important questions that should be addressed in future phase III trials. Additionally, a number of study designs are suggested to best answer the therapeutic questions posed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research