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Oligometastatic non-small cell lung cancer

Michael T Milano, MD, PhD
Everett E Vokes, MD
Howard J West, MD
Joseph K Salama, MD
Section Editors
Rogerio C Lilenbaum, MD, FACP
James R Jett, MD
Joseph S Friedberg, MD
Steven E Schild, MD
Deputy Editor
Sadhna R Vora, MD


An important goal for many physicians is the ability to offer curative intent treatment, with a reasonable rate of success, to a group of patients previously only considered for palliation. As cancer treatments have evolved, patients once considered incurable are sometimes seen as potentially curable.

As an example, this has led to a “stage migration” from stage IV to earlier stages of disease in some cancers. For non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), multiple tumors in the same lobe are now classified as T3, and multiple tumors in the same lung but in a different lobe are classified as T4, where they were once considered metastatic (table 1).

For patients with American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) stage IV NSCLC with one or a limited number of metastases, an emerging approach has been to use definitive treatment modalities to render them disease free.

This chapter reviews the basis of the oligometastatic state and discusses outcomes among patients with oligometastatic NSCLC.


Definition — The clinical state of oligometastasis consists of patients with metastases limited in number and organ site(s) who may have a more indolent biology and progression at existing sites without widespread metastases. This concept was best elucidated in 1995 [1], even though patients with limited metastases had been aggressively treated with surgical resection and/or radiation therapy for many decades [2,3].


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Jan 7, 2015.
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