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Radioresistance of Cancer Stem Cells in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Scott V Bratman, MD, PhD1, and Maximilian Diehn, MD, PhD1,2

Cancer is responsible for one in eight deaths worldwide, and lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death [1]. In the US alone, >160 000 people will succumb to lung cancer in 2012. Despite recent advances in our understanding of this disease, the efficacy of available treatments remains limited, and lung cancer survival rates remain at <20% at 5 years. Currently, the vast majority of cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, but recent results from the National Lung Screening Trial indicate that screening high-risk populations identifies individuals with early-stage lung cancer who may benefit from curative local therapies such as surgery and radiotherapy [2]. Histological features and clinical behavior distinguish between small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which are the major subtypes of the disease. NSCLC, which is composed of a variety of subtypes, including adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and large cell carcinoma, accounts for approximately 85% of lung cancer diagnoses [3].

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