Biology of Lung Cancer With Implications for New Therapies

Marie F. Aberle

Sandra W. McLeskey

ONF 2003, 30(2), 273-280. DOI: 10.1188/03.ONF.273-280

Purpose/Objectives: To provide an overview of the biology of lung cancer with respect to genetic carcinogenesis and specific mutations and to discuss new therapies being developed to target lung cancer's biologic processes.

Data Sources: Published articles, abstracts, book chapters, lectures, and personal experiences with experimental agents.

Data Synthesis: Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths for men and women in the United States, with minimal changes in the five-year survival rate during the past decade. New understanding of the biologic process of lung cancer is providing potential new therapies that many hope will lead to increased survival for patients with lung cancer.

Conclusions: Exciting new therapies for lung cancer are being developed that target specific biologic processes of lung cancer.

Implications for Nursing: When nurses are familiar with the rationale behind biologic therapies, they can understand the drugs, assess toxicities, and help patients make educated decisions about therapeutic alternatives.

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