Non-small cell lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States. Most patients have advanced metastatic disease at diagnosis. Historically, platinum-based chemotherapy was the first-line therapy based on histologic subtype. 

An oral presentation at the 2023 ONA Summit Live Virtual Meeting described key molecular characteristics in advanced non-small cell lung cancer and their relationship to current and emerging targeted therapies, compared guideline-directed targeted therapies based on patient and tumor characteristics to improve selection of patient-specific treatment, and explained collaborative strategies for managing therapy-related adverse events for this patient population.

Over the past 20 years, significant advances have been made in the identification of actionable oncogenic drivers in non-small cell lung cancer. Targeted therapies have been developed that are specific to these oncogenic drivers, providing enhanced personalized therapy for non-small cell lung cancer

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Despite clinical practice guidelines that recommend reflex testing for oncogenic drivers of all newly diagnosed non-small cell lung cancer, testing practices vary and are underutilized. This may result in patients being treated with less-than-optimal therapy. In addition, for some of the oncogenic drivers there are several therapies developed. 

Clinician understanding of specific patient characteristics that influence treatment selection for non-small cell lung cancer is essential.  Nurse awareness of unique treatment-related side effects, monitoring for these, and management strategies to enhance optimal patient outcomes also are essential. 

Marianne Davies is a thoracic oncology nurse practitioner at Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale and associate professor, Yale School of Nursing, both in New Haven, Connecticut.


Davies M. Thriving in the era of precision medicine: updates in targeted therapies for NSCLC. 2023 ONA Summit Live Virtual Meeting; March 17-19, 2023.

This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor