survival is improving in France

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Secondary lung cancer.  Color chest x-ray of a section through the lungs (dark, left and right) of a patient with multiple malignant (cloud-like) lesions that have metastasized from cancer elsewhere in the body.

Good news on the lung cancer front: two-year mortality has decreased in France, from 79% in 2000 to 74% in 2010, then to 52% in 2020, as indicated by the results, not yet consolidated, of the KBP-2020-CPHG study, presented on Sunday January 29 at the Congress of French-language pneumology in Marseille. One-year survival has increased from 40% in 2000 to 55% in 2020.

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This work by the College of Pneumologists of General Hospitals (CPHG) concerns nearly 9,000 new cases of primary bronchial cancer (lung cancer), all types of tumors and at all stages, listed in 2020 by 82 centers. The objective is to describe lung cancers and compare them to the 2010 and 2000 cohorts.

“This confirms the clinical impression that we had, with improved management due to the evolution of therapies, in particular immunotherapy, a major advance in the management of bronchopulmonary cancers”explained Hugues Morel, pulmonologist at the Orleans regional hospital and president of the CPHG, during a press conference. “This improvement is observed regardless of the stage of cancer at diagnosis, even if it is greater for non-metastatic stages”notes Didier Debieuvre, head of the pulmonology department at the hospital group in the Mulhouse Sud-Alsace region, which coordinates the KBP study. “The median survival [période au bout de laquelle 50 % des patients sont vivants] all stages and all types doubled from 8.8 months in 2000 to 9.7 months in 2010 and 17.1 months in 2020”continues the specialist.

“This study is very interesting, because it concerns patients from general hospitals, and not from specialized centres, it is a big jobsays Charles-Hugo Marquette, head of the pneumology department at the Nice University Hospital, who is not taking part in the study. I’ve been practicing for thirty-four years, and it’s only gotten better in the last fifteen years. Before, the changes were more marginal. »

Targeted treatments and immunotherapy

The news deserves to be hailed for this cancer, very largely linked to smoking, which affects more than 46,300 new people per year (31,200 men and 15,100 women). It remains the leading cause of cancer death in France, with 33,000 deaths each year.

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“This progress is explained by better access to treatments and by better efficacy of targeted treatments and immunotherapy”emphasizes Didier Debieuvre. “They primarily concern metastatic cancers, but also locally advanced stages for immunotherapy. Benefit in localized stages now demonstrated for anti-EGFR targeted therapies [récepteurs du facteur de croissance épidermique] after surgery and for pre and postoperative immunotherapy », develops the specialist. In localized forms, surgery remains the reference treatment to remove the tumour.

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