Algorithm for the treatment of advanced or metastatic squamous non-small-cell lung cancer: an evidence-based overview

N. Daaboul, G. Nicholas, S. A. Laurie


The treatment of squamous non-small-cell lung cancer (nsclc) is evolving. In the past, the backbone of treatment was chemotherapy, with very few other options available. Fortunately, that situation is changing, especially with a better understanding of tumour biology. Various strategies have been tried to improve patient outcomes. The most notable advance must be immunotherapy, which has revolutionized the treatment paradigm for lung cancer in patients without a driver mutation. Immunotherapy is now the treatment of choice in patients who have progressed after chemotherapy and is replacing chemotherapy as upfront therapy in a selected population. Other strategies have also been tried, such as the addition of targeted therapy to chemotherapy. Targeted agents include ramucirumab, an inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, and necitumumab, a monoclonal antibody against epithelial growth factor receptor. Recently, advances in molecular profiling have also been applied to tumours of squamous histology, in which multiple genetic alterations, including mutations and amplifications, have been described. Research is actively seeking targetable mutations and testing various therapies in the hopes of further improving prognosis for patients with squamous nsclc. Here, we review the various advances in the treatment of squamous nsclc and present a proposed treatment algorithm based on current evidence.


Non-small-cell carcinoma of the lung; squamous cell carcinoma; targeted therapy; immunotherapy

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)