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According to the results of a study conducted in Japan, patients who undergo concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy for Stage III non–small cell lung cancer have a 6% chance of developing a second cancer during the first five years after treatment. These results were published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type of lung cancer in the United States, accounting for approximately 75–80% of all lung cancers.

Stage IIIA NSCLC is a single cancer mass that does not invade any adjacent organs and involves one or more lymph nodes away from the primary cancer. Stage IIIB NSCLC has already spread to more than one location in the chest, but cannot be detected outside the chest cavity with currently available diagnostic tests.

To explore the risk of second cancers in patients treated with concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy for Stage IIIA or IIIB NSCLC, researchers in Japan conducted a study among 92 patients. A majority of the patients were men. Patients were followed for up to 11 years after their initial NSCLC diagnosis.

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  • Seven of the 92 patients eventually developed a second primary cancer (a new cancer that was not a recurrence of their initial cancer). Two patients developed a second NSCLC, one patient developed a small cell lung cancer, two patients developed esophageal cancer, and two patients developed biliary tract cancer.
  • Among the 28 patients who survived for more than five years after their initial NSCLC diagnosis, three died as a result of a second primary cancer.
  • The researchers estimated that the risk of a second cancer was 2.7% by three years after the initial NSCLC diagnosis, and 5.8% by five years after the initial NSCLC diagnosis.

The researchers conclude that long-term survivors of NSCLC should be monitored for the occurrence of second cancers.

Reference: Takigawa N, Kiura K, Segawa Y et al. Second Primary Cancer in Survivors Following Concurrent Chemoradiation for Locally Advanced Non-small Cell Lung Cancer. British Journal of Cancer. 2006;95:1142-1144.

Related News:Chemotherapy plus Radiation Superior to Radiation Alone Following Initial Chemotherapy for Lung Cancer (9/20/2006)

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