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

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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

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Reporting Checklist: The authors have completed the Narrative Review reporting checklist. Available at https:// Conflicts of Interest: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form (available at https://dx.doi. org/10.21037/tlcr-21-265). The series “Oligometastatic NSCLC: definition and treatment opportunities” was commissioned by the editorial office without any funding or sponsorship. DWD reports consulting fees from Roche, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, BMS, outside the submitted work. RC reports speaker fee from Roche, Pfizer and BMS, personal fees from Advisory board of MSD, Roche and Spectrum, outside the submitted work. AMCD reports personal fees from Roche, eli Lilly, Boehringer Ingelheim, Astra Zeneca, Pfizer, BMS, Amgen, Novartis, Takeda, Pharmamar and MSD, grants from BMS and Amgen, non-financial support from Abbvie, outside the submitted work. The authors have no other conflicts of interest to declare.

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