Lung cancer expert Dr. David Carbone responds to a patient question about the purpose of maintenance therapy for lung cancer and what to expect.
Dr. David Carbone is a medical oncologist and professor of internal medicine at The Ohio State University. Dr. Carbone is also co-leader of the Translational Therapeutics Program at the OSUCCC – James, where serves as director of the Thoracic Oncology Center. Learn more about Dr. Carbone, here.
Lindsay sent in this question: “My doctor has talked about putting me on maintenance therapy following my treatment regimen. What is maintenance therapy for lung cancer?”
So, many of our treatments have a maintenance phase, and I’m not sure which treatment she’s talking about. But even with chemotherapy, now, if people are on chemotherapy alone, will usually use a double chemotherapy to start, and then will drop one of the chemos after a few cycles, and then continue the other as a maintenance.
A more typical regimen today is a combination of two chemos and an immunotherapy. And generally, we’ll stop the more toxic chemotherapy after a few cycles and continue the less toxic chemotherapy plus the immunotherapy, usually for up to two years.
After chemo-radiation, you’d have a maintenance immunotherapy as well. So, maintenance therapy is just a lower-intensity therapy after your initial therapy, designed to keep the cancer from coming back.