Treatment of advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the lung: a review

Benjamin A. Derman, Kathryn F. Mileham, Philip D. Bonomi, Marta Batus, Mary J. Fidler

Abstract

Lung cancer remains the single deadliest cancer both in the US and worldwide. The great majority of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is attributed to cigarette smoking, which fortunately is declining alongside cancer incidence. While we have been at a therapeutic plateau for advanced squamous cell lung cancer patients for several decades, recent observations suggest that we are on the verge of seeing incremental survival improvements for this relatively large group of patients. Current studies have confirmed an expanding role for immunotherapy [including programmed cell death-1 (PD-1)/programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) inhibition], a potential opportunity for VEGFR inhibition, and even future targets in fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) and PI3K-AKT that collectively should improve survival as well as quality of life for those affected by squamous cell lung cancer over the next decade.