ASCO Guidelines podkast

Management of Stage III NSCLC Guideline

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An interview with Dr. Megan Daly from University of California in Davis, California and Dr. Navneet Singh from the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research in Chandigarh, India, co-chairs on “Management of Stage III Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer: ASCO Guideline.” They summarize guideline recommendations on five subtopics – evaluation & staging, surgery, neoadjuvant therapy, adjuvant therapy, and unresectable disease. Read the full guideline at





ANNOUNCER: The purpose of this podcast is to educate and to inform. This is not a substitute for professional medical care and is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of individual conditions. Guests on this podcast express their own opinions, experience, and conclusions. The mention of any product, service, organization, activity, or therapy should not be construed as an ASCO endorsement.

BRITTANY HARVEY: Hello, and welcome to the ASCO Guidelines podcast series, brought to you by the ASCO Podcast Network, a collection of nine programs covering a range of educational and scientific content and offering enriching insight into the world of cancer care. You can find all the shows, including this one, at

My name is Brittany Harvey, and today, I'm interviewing Dr. Megan Daley from University of California in Davis, California, and Dr. Navneet Singh from the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India, co-chairs on management of stage III non-small cell lung cancer ASCO guideline. Thank you for being here, Dr. Daley and Dr. Singh.

MEGAN DALEY: Thank you for having us.

NAVNEET SINGH: Thank you for having us, too.

BRITTANY HARVEY: First, I'd like to note that ASCO takes great care in the development of its guidelines and ensuring that the ASCO conflict of interest policy is followed for each guideline. The full conflict of interest information for this guideline panel is available online with the publication of the guideline in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Daley, do you have any relevant disclosures that are directly related to this guideline topic?

MEGAN DALEY: I have research funding from EMD Serono, Merck, and Genentech.

BRITTANY HARVEY: Thank you for those disclosures. Then Dr. Singh, do you have any relevant disclosures that are directly related to this guideline?

NAVNEET SINGH: No, I have no financial conflicts of interest.

BRITTANY HARVEY: Thank you. Getting into the content of this guideline, Dr. Singh, can you give us an overview of both the scope and the purpose of this guideline?

NAVNEET SINGH: Yes, absolutely. So this guideline has been developed to assist clinicians involved in the management of patients with stage III non-small-cell lung cancer, or NSCLC, as we call it briefly.

Now, stage III NSCLC represents one of the most heterogeneous subgroups of lung cancer. Consequently, it is also the subgroup in which the choice of multimodality treatment and the sequence of multimodality treatment varies significantly amongst clinicians, with variations being observed across institutes, as well as within an institute. And we sincerely hope that, with the help of this guideline, clinicians can accurately confirm the presence of stage III disease and offer the most appropriate treatment based on clinical and radiographic characteristics, as well as other medical factors that influence treatment decision-making. This evidence-based guidance also seeks to provide clarification on the common clinical dilemmas that clinicians may have while evaluating a patient with suspected or known stage III NSCLC.

BRITTANY HARVEY: Thank you for that background information, Dr. Singh. Then, Dr. Daley, this guideline addresses five main sections, evaluation and staging, surgery, neoadjuvant therapy, adjuvant therapy, and unresectable disease. So starting with evaluation and staging, what are the key recommendations for workup for patients with suspected stage III non-small cell lung cancer?

MEGAN DALEY: Our first recommendation for such patients is that they should undergo a history and physical exam and a CT scan of the chest and upper abdomen with contrast, unless it's contraindicated. If metastatic disease is not identified on CT, those patients should go on to a PET CT scan and MRI of the brain. If the patients are being considered for curative intent treatment, the guideline recommends pathologic mediastinal lymph node assessment.

And we recommend that endoscopic techniques should be offered as the initial staging modality, if available. If not available, invasive surgical mediastinal staging should be offered. And finally, for patients who have suspected or confirmed stage III lung cancer, we recommend that multidisciplinary discussion should occur prior to any initiation of a treatment plan.

BRITTANY HARVEY: Great, I appreciate your reviewing those recommendations. So following that, Dr. Singh, what does the guideline recommend regarding which patients with stage III non-small-cell lung cancer should be considered for surgical resection?

NAVNEET SINGH: So in this guideline, the recommendation which has come forth is that for patients with stage IIIA, basically N2 disease, induction therapy should be followed by surgery with or without adjuvant therapy if several conditions are met. Basically, a complete resection of the primary tumor and the involved lymph nodes is deemed feasible, and three nodes or contralateral lymph nodes are deemed to be not involved, and the expected perioperative 90-day mortality is low, typically 5% or less.

Another recommendation is that for selected patients with the P4N0 disease, surgical resection may be offered if medically and surgically feasible following multidisciplinary review. We would like to emphasize here that surgeons should always be involved in decisions regarding the feasibility of surgical resection. And they are an integral part of a multidisciplinary evaluation for surgical resection for stage III NSCLC patients.

BRITTANY HARVEY: Great. Then Dr. Singh just reviewed who should be considered for surgical resection. So Dr. Daley, for patients with potentially resectable stage III non-small-cell lung cancer, what are the key recommendations for neoadjuvant therapy?

MEGAN DALEY: Our first recommendation is that patients who are planned for a multimodality approach that will incorporate surgery should receive systemic neoadjuvant therapy. Second, that those patients with N2 disease who are planned for surgical resection should receive either neoadjuvant chemotherapy or neoadjuvant concurrent chemoradiation. And finally, for patients with a resectable superior sulcus tumor, neoadjuvant concurrent chemoradiation should be administered.

BRITTANY HARVEY: Understood. Then in addition, Dr. Singh, for patients with resected stage III non-small-cell lung cancer, what are the key recommendations for adjuvant therapy?

NAVNEET SINGH: So the panel came up with three recommendations for adjuvant treatment. The first is that patients with resected stage III NSCLC who did not receive neoadjuvant systemic therapy should be offered adjuvant platinum-based chemotherapy. The second recommendation which we came up was that for patients with resected stage III disease and presence of a sensitizing EGFR mutation-- classically, exon 19 deletion or the L858R exon 21 point mutation-- they may be offered adjuvant osimertinib, which is an EGFR inhibitor, after platinum-based chemotherapy. And this is based upon the ADAURA trial, which was published last year. And the third recommendation was that for patients with completely resected NSCLC and mediastinal involvement N2 disease, but without extracapsular extension, post-operative radiotherapy should not be routinely offered.

BRITTANY HARVEY: OK. And then the last section of recommendations covers unresectable disease. So Dr. Daley, what does the guideline recommend regarding the management of unresectable stage III non-small-cell lung cancer?

MEGAN DALEY: The guideline first recommends that these patients who have a good performance status should be offered concurrent, rather than sequential, chemoradiation, that concurrent chemotherapy delivered with radiation should include a platinum-based doublet, preferably cisplatin-etoposide, carboplatin-paclitaxel, or cisplatin-pemetrexed or cisplatin-vinorelbine. The patients who are not candidates for concurrent chemoradiation, but who are potentially candidates for chemotherapy, should be offered sequential chemoradiation, rather than radiation alone, that patients receiving concurrent chemoradiation should be treated to 60 gray. And that's based on the results of RTOG 0617.

We also recommend within the guideline that doses higher than 60 gray and up to 70 gray could be considered for selected patients, with careful attention to doses to the heart, lung, and esophagus, among other organs. The guideline also recommends that patients receiving definitive radiation without chemotherapy, that hypofractionation using slightly larger doses could be considered-- over 2 gray per fraction, and up to 4 gray per fraction, and that patients without disease progression during concurrent chemoradiation should be offered consolidation durvalumab, based on the PACIFIC trial.

BRITTANY HARVEY: Thank you both, then, for reviewing the key recommendations of this guideline. So, Dr. Singh, in your view, what is the importance of this guideline, and how does it impact clinicians?

NAVNEET SINGH: I think this guideline will go a long way in helping clinicians who are involved in the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer, especially stage III NSCLC. As mentioned earlier, this is a very heterogeneous disease. And there are several challenging situations, both in the context of diagnosis, as well as treatment. And using this guideline, which has an extensive evidence review, as well as the development of two very helpful algorithms, we sincerely hope that clinicians who are both in academic centers as well as in practice in the community are able to accurately diagnose stage III, appropriately stage it, and offer the best treatment, given the patient characteristics and the disease characteristics and available resources.

BRITTANY HARVEY: Great. Those are important points. So then, finally, Dr. Daley, how will these guideline recommendations affect patients?

MEGAN DALEY: Well, we hope very much that these guidelines will help patients consistently receive high-quality care for their stage III lung cancer. In particular, we're hoping that the recommendation from multidisciplinary assessment of patients prior to treatment is carefully followed. We're hoping that some of the recommendations surrounding the appropriate workup for patients may help ensure that all patients receive a thorough and complete workup prior to initiation of treatment.

And the guideline, in particular, is highlighting some of the more recent developments in stage III lung cancer, such as the use of consolidation durvalumab based on the PACIFIC trial, the use of osimertinib in resectable disease based on the ADAURA trial. And we're hoping to make sure that these results are disseminated to practitioners everywhere so that patients can receive the latest and best care for their stage III lung cancer.

BRITTANY HARVEY: Understood. Yeah, as you both mentioned, we hope that this has a positive impact for both clinicians and patients. So I want to thank you both for all of your hard work to develop this guideline and the evidence-based recommendations along with it. And thank you for taking the time to speak with me today, Dr. Daley and Dr. Singh.

MEGAN DALEY: Thank you so much for having us.


BRITTANY HARVEY: And thank you to all of our listeners for tuning into the ASCO Guidelines podcast series. To read the full guideline, go to You can also find many of our guidelines and interactive resources in the free ASCO guidelines app, available in iTunes or the Google Play store. If you have enjoyed what you've heard today, please rate and review the podcast, and be sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode.


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