Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Lung cancer: treatment

By Steve Williamson, MSc, MRPharmS, and Simon Purcell, DipClinPharm, MRPharmS

Coloured chest X-rayFirst-line treatment for non-small cell lung cancer is surgery; but many patients are not suitable and, for these patients, management may involve radiotherapy, chemotherapy or newer targeted therapies



Surgery provides the best chance of cure for patients with stage I and II non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, many patients with early NSCLC are not suitable for surgery and, for such patients, radiotherapy is the treatment of choice.

First-line treatment of patients with advanced NSCLC is usually with a chemotherapy regimen that includes one platinum-based drug plus a third-generation medicine (eg, paclitaxel). In recent years the use of targeted treatments (eg, erlotinib or gefitinib) has improved outcomes for patients with advanced NSCLC.

The full text article is available as a PDF (940K) file.


Steve Williamson is a consultant pharmacist for cancer services at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust and North of England Cancer Network

Simon Purcell is a specialist oncology pharmacist and teacher practitioner at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology NHS Foundation Trust


Learning@lunchThis is one of two Clinical focus articles in the April 2011 issue of Clinical Pharmacist (diagnosis and staging of disease and treatment) that are linked to a Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education learning@lunch flex module on lung cancer — designed for hospital pharmacists and technicians in England.

You can use these articles to provide key background knowledge on the topic before participating in a learning@lunch flex session at your hospital. The module contains reflective questions, case studies and practice activities to allow you to put your learning into action.

You can order copies of this module via your CPPE key contact at the hospital or by emailing Jayne Plant on

Find out more


learning@lunch flexNow put your learning into practice by joining colleagues at a CPPE learning@lunch flex session in your hospital.

During the session you will test your knowledge with five reflective questions and three true-to-life case studies.

You will discuss the most appropriate treatment strategy for lung cancer while focusing on the emergency admission of Mrs Brown.

Our other case studies will explore the place of erlotinib in therapy and the management of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

For more information about taking part in a learning@lunch flex session or setting up your own learning community, turn to the contact details above.

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist URI: 11072147

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary information

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.