Lung Cancer Treatment Advances

The pace of FDA approvals for lung cancer treatments has been accelerating in recent decades. This rapid development exemplifies the discoveries and continued progress made by LCRF and other investigators around the world.


History of Lung Cancer Treatment Advances

Lung cancer treatments available in the past were far and few between. Fortunately, since the early 2000s, we observed a steep increase in the number and variety of treatments available for lung cancer. For a detailed explanation of which treatment drugs were approved since the 1940s, scroll down to “Drug Approvals by Decade.”

Recently Approved Lung Cancer Treatments

Below is a list of treatment approvals since January 2018. In 2018 alone, there were 10 approvals. Notably, 2018 also saw the first small cell lung cancer treatment approved in over a decade.

April 2019

  • FDA approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda), an immunotherapy treatment that can be used for the first-line treatment of patients with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Read More

March 2019

  • FDA approved atezolizamab (Tecentriq) in combination with chemotherapy for first line treatment of extensive stage SCLC. Read More

December 2018

  • FDA approved atezolizumab (Tecentriq) in combination with chemotherapy as a first line treatment of non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has metastasized. Read More

November 2018

  • FDA approved lorlatinib (Lorbrena) as a second or third line treatment for patients with ALK+ metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Read More
  • FDA approved larotrectinib (Vitrakvi), a targeted therapy used as a subsequent treatment for patients with NTRK+ solid tumors* whose cancer has progressed following treatment and/or surgery is not an option. Read more
    *Treatment indication is not exclusive to lung cancer, but to all solid cancer tumors that have the NTRK genetic mutation.

October 2018

  • FDA approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in combination with chemotherapy as a first-line treatment of metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Read More

September 2018

  • FDA approved dacomitinib (Vizimpro) as a first-line treatment for patients with EFGR+ metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Read More

August 2018

  • FDA approved pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in combination with chemotherapy as a first-line treatment for patients with metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Read More
  • FDA approved nivolumab (Opdivo) as a third-line treatment for patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Read More

April 2018

  • FDA approved osimertinib (Tagrisso) as a first-line treatment for EGFR+ patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Read More

February 2018

  • FDA approved durvalumab (Imfinzi) after chemoradiation treatment for patients with unresectable stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Read More

January 2018

  • FDA approved afatinib (Gilotrif) for a broadened indication in first-line treatment of EGFR+ patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Read More

Drug Approvals by Decade

1940s

Mechlorethamine Hydrochloride

1970s

Methotrexate
Doxorubicin Hydrochloride

1980s

Cisplatin

1995-2005

Etoposide
Gemcitabine Hydrochloride
Docetaxel
Carboplatin
Gefitinib
Erlotinib

2006-2015

Bevacizumab
Topotecan Hydrochloride
Pemetrexed Disodium
Crizotinib
Paclitaxel Albumin-stabilized Nanoparticle Formulation
Afatinib Dimaleate
Ramucirumab
Ceritinib

2015-2019

Nivolumab
Pembrolizumab
Osimertinib
Alectinib
Necitumumab
Durvalumab
Dabrafenib
Brigatinib
Trametinib
Atezolizumab
Lorlatinib
Dacomitinib
Afatinib
Larotrectinib

1. Cancer.gov, 2019
2. Clinicaltrials.gov, 2019