Slow-growing lung cancer as an emerging entity: From screening to clinical management

Maurizio Infante, Thierry Berghmans, Marjolein A. Heuvelmans, Gunnar Hillerdal, Matthijs Oudkerk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current paradigm is that untreated lung cancer is invariably and rapidly fatal, therefore the medical community normally dismisses the idea that a patient could live with such a disease for years without any therapy. Yet evidence from lung cancer screening research and from recent clinical series suggests that, although rarely recognised in routine practice, slow-growing lung cancers do exist and are more common than previously thought. Here, current evidence is reviewed and clinical cases are illustrated to show that slow-growing lung cancer is a real clinical entity, and the reasons why management protocols developed in the screening setting may also be useful in clinical practice are discussed. Features suggesting that a lung cancer may be slow-growing are described and appraised, areas of uncertainty are examined, modern management options for early-stage disease are evaluated and the influence that all this knowledge might have on our clinical decision-making is weighed. Further research directed at developing appropriate guidelines for these peculiar but increasingly common patients is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1706-1722
Number of pages17
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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