Presenting the David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award Lecture held Saturday, June 3, Paul A. Bunn Jr., MD, FASCO, led a lightning-speed guided tour through the advances in lung cancer care that have occurred during his 3-decade career. With stops along the way that focused on advances in biology, early detection, prevention, pathology staging, and therapy, he charted the course that led to recent developments including molecular therapy and immunotherapy for lung cancer.
Dr. Paul Bunn
“I’m very proud to represent the lung cancer community in accepting this award, which symbolizes the recent improvements in lung cancer in early detection, prevention, and therapy,” Dr. Bunn said. “I’m going to tell you a story, and this slide [U.S. cancer statistics in 2016] sort of summarizes the story. Lung cancer mortality rates for men and women have been declining in recent years. Lung cancer mortality rates in men began falling steadily since the Surgeon General’s report in 1964. At that time, 54% of American men were smokers. Lung cancer rates in women have been falling since about 2005. Despite these extraordinary gains, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the United States. And worldwide, there are more than 1.6 million deaths from lung cancer annually.”
In recounting the advances that have occurred during his career, starting with the National Cancer Institute Medical Branch in 1973, Dr. Bunn’s timeline included the identification of small cell lung cancer as a distinct clinicopathologic entity in the 1970s, the identification of mutations in KRAS, RB, and TP53 in the 1980s, the recognition that EGFR mutations enhance sensitivity to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in the first decade of the 21st century, and the development of next-generation sequencing and immunotherapy in the current decade. He closed with recent developments in molecular therapy including third-generation TKIs and the use of genome-wide screening to identify effective synergetic combinations of agents.
-Tim Donald, ELS