Systemic Therapy of Lung Cancer

Systemic therapy is a cancer treatment for the whole body. It will treat cancer in your lungs. It will also treat cancer in your lymph nodes and elsewhere. For stages I-III, chemotherapy and immunotherapy are used.


Chemotherapy works by stopping the cell life cycle.

As a result, cancer cells cannot make new cells. Chemotherapy can also cause cells to destroy themselves. Often, cisplatin or carboplatin—drugs made with platinum—is used with another drug. These regimens are called platinum-doublet chemotherapy.

Most chemotherapy drugs for lung cancer are liquids that are slowly injected into a vein (infusion). Some are a pill that is swallowed. Chemotherapy is given in cycles of treatment days followed by days of rest. The cycles vary in length depending on which drugs are used. Ask your doctor how many cycles and days of treatment there are within a cycle of your treatment.


T cells are part of your body’s disease-fighting (immune) system. They are unable to attack cancer cells that have PD-L1. Durvalumab is a treatment that enables T cells to attack cancer cells. It is given by infusion every 2 weeks for 60 minutes.


Clinical trial

One treatment choice may be whether to join a clinical trial. Joining a clinical trial is strongly supported. NCCN believes that you will receive the best management in a clinical trial.

A clinical trial is a type of research that studies a test or treatment in people. It gives people access to health care that otherwise couldn’t usually be received. Ask your treatment team if there is an open clinical trial that you can join.