What are the treatment recommendations for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) stage IB or stage II?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Marvaretta M Stevenson, MD; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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Surgery is recommended for patients with stage I B (> 4 cm tumor size) or II non–small cell lung cancer NSCLC) and may provide the best possibility for a cure. Surgery (radiation if the patient is not a surgical candidate), with or without adjuvant chemotherapy based on risk factors, for stages IB and II is generally appropriate.

Adjuvant chemotherapy after surgical resection provides an absolute increase in 5-y survival of approximately 5% [1] ; median 5-y overall survival rates range from 45-70%. No benefit has been shown for adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery for stage I disease; the benefit of adding adjuvant chemotherapy increases as disease stage increases. [1]

Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) may be used in early-stage NSCLC tumors that are smaller than 5 cm and without lymph node involvement. This has become a viable and effective option for patients with early-stage NSCLC who are not surgical candidates and in those with significant co-morbidities. Studies show high local control rates (approximately 90%) for these patients. However, the protocols for SBRT have varied among the published studies.

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