New treatments spur sharp reduction in lung cancer mortality rate

According to a new study, mortality rates from the most common lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), have fallen sharply in the United States in recent years, due primarily to recent advances in treatment.

The study was led by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The findings were published August 12, 2020, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Reduced tobacco consumption in the U.S. has been associated with a progressive decrease in lung cancer deaths that started around 1990 in men and around 2000 in women. Until now, however, we have not known whether newer treatments might contribute to some of the recent improvement,” said Douglas R. Lowy, M.D., NCI deputy director and co-author of this study. “This analysis shows for the first time that nationwide mortality rates for the most common category of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, are declining faster than its incidence, an advance that correlates with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of several targeted therapies for this cancer in recent years.”

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This page was last updated on Friday, January 21, 2022