Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world today, in terms of both incidence and mortality. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for about 85% of all lung cancers, and the majority of people diagnosed with NSCLC have locally advanced or metastatic disease. Treatment algorithms have rapidly changed in the last 10 years because of the introduction of new chemotherapeutic and targeted agents in clinical practice. SUN is a 1-year longitudinal observational multicenter study that has consecutively enrolled patients affected by stage IIIB or IV NSCLC with the aim to describe the pattern of care and evolving approaches in the treatment of advanced NSCLC. 987 consecutive NSCLC patients were enrolled between January 2007 and March 2008 at the 74 participating centers throughout Italy and a 12-month follow-up was performed. Cyto-histological diagnosis was performed mainly by broncoscopy with only 24% by CT-scan guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy. 91.4% of the patients received a first-line medical treatment and 8.6% supportive care only. Median age of patients receiving first-line treatment was 66 years. First-line chemotherapy consisted of a single agent in 20% of patients and combination chemotherapy in 80%. The most frequently used chemotherapy regimens were cisplatin plus gemcitabine and carboplatin plus gemcitabine. Median survival of patients receiving first-line chemotherapy was 9.1 months. 32% percent of patients received a second-line treatment that consisted of chemotherapy in 71% of cases and erlotinib in 29%. Overall third-line treatment was given to 7.3% of patients. These results showed a pattern of care for advanced NSCLC that reflects the current clinical practice in Italy at the study time with a high adherence to the International guidelines by the Italian Oncologists.
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