Current and Emergent Therapy Options for Advanced Squamous Cell Lung Cancer

Mark A. Socinski, Coleman Obasaju, David Gandara, Fred R. Hirsch, Philip Bonomi, Paul A. Bunn, Edward S. Kim, Corey J. Langer, Ronald B. Natale, Silvia Novello, Luis Paz-Ares, Maurice Pérol, Martin Reck, Suresh S. Ramalingam, Craig H. Reynolds, David R. Spigel, Heather Wakelee, Nick Thatcher

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Squamous cell lung cancer (SqCLC) is a distinct histologic subtype of NSCLC that is challenging to treat because of specific clinicopathologic characteristics, which include older age, advanced disease at diagnosis, comorbid diseases, and the central location of tumors. These characteristics have a bearing on treatment outcomes in advanced SqCLC, resulting in a median survival approximately 30% shorter than for patients with other NSCLC subtypes. In the context of the specific features of SqCLC, we review challenges of treating SqCLC and the current guideline-recommended treatments for advanced (metastatic) SqCLC in different patient subpopulations. We also evaluate recently approved treatment options, including necitumumab, afatinib, nivolumab, pembrolizumab, and atezolizumab; discuss the survival benefits associated with each agent in the advanced SqCLC population; and propose a treatment algorithm incorporating these agents for this challenging-to-treat disease. Lastly, we review the preliminary clinical evidence for immunotherapy agents in development for advanced NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-183
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Non–small cell lung cancer
  • Squamous cell lung cancer
  • Treatment algorithm
  • Treatment guidelines


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