Staging Takes a Leap

CURE, Spring 2010, Volume 9, Issue 1

The staging system used to classify non-small cell lung cancer has been revamped by an international consortium of researchers, as they apply a more sophisticated understanding of the malignancy.

The staging system used to classify non-small cell lung cancer has been revamped by an international consortium of researchers, as they apply a more sophisticated understanding of the malignancy.

The new system, the details of which were published in last July’s issue of the journal CHEST, represents a “quantum leap,” in more precise staging of the most common form of lung cancer, says Frank Detterbeck, MD, chief of thoracic surgery at Yale School of Medicine and lead author of the article. “The previous staging systems were based to large extent on intuition,” he says. “Now we have a lot more solid basis of knowledge about how to group tumors based on stage.”

The classification system, which goes into effect this year, won’t change treatment for individual patients, Detterbeck says. But more precise staging will help improve research insights over time. “It certainly will help us in new clinical trials because we can be more clear about what patients we are talking about.”