Defining oligometastatic non-small cell lung cancer: Concept versus biology, a literature review

Jill F. Mentink, Marthe S. Paats, Daphne W. Dumoulin, Robin Cornelissen, Joris B.W. Elbers, Alexander P.W.M. Maat, Jan H. Von Der Thüsen, Anne Marie C. Dingemans*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlePopular

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: In this review, the concept of (synchronous) oligometastatic disease in patients with non-oncogene-driven non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) will be placed in the context of tumor biology and metastatic growth patterns. We will also provide considerations for clinical practice and future perspectives, which will ultimately lead to better patient selection and oligometastatic disease outcome. Background: The treatment landscape of metastasized NSCLC has moved from “one-size fits all” to a personalized approach. Prognosis has traditionally been poor but new treatment options, such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy, brighten future perspectives. Another emerging development is the recognition of patients with so-called “oligometastatic” state of disease. Oligometastatic disease has been recognized as a distinct clinical presentation in which the tumor is stated to be early in its evolution of metastatic potential. It is suggested that this stage of disease has an indolent course, comes with a better prognosis and therefore could be considered for radical multimodality treatment. Methods: Narrative overview of the literature synthesizing the findings of literature retrieved from searches of computerized databases, hand searches, and authoritative texts. Conclusions: Oligometastatic NSCLC is a broad spectrum disease, with a variable prognosis. Although the biology and behavior of “intermediate state” of metastatic disease are not fully understood, there is evidence that a subgroup of patients can benefit from local radical treatment when integrated into a multimodality regime. The consensus definition of oligometastatic NSCLC, including accurate staging, may help to uniform future trials. The preferable treatment strategy seems to sequential systemic treatment with subsequent local radical treatment in patients with a partial response or stable disease. Prognostic factors such as N-stage, number and site of distant metastases, tumor volume, performance status, age, and tumor type should be considered. The local radical treatment strategy has to be discussed in a multidisciplinary team meeting, taking into account patient characteristics and invasiveness of the procedure. However, many aspects remain to be explored and learned about the cancer biology and characteristics of intermediate state tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3329-3338
Number of pages10
JournalTranslational Lung Cancer Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


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