For Patients Lung Cancer
Cancer - many diseases under one term.

Lung Cancer

Malignant neoplasms of the lungs and bronchi represent the third leading cause of death overall, accounting for nearly one-fifth of all cancer deaths in Germany in 2017. Most lung cancer patients have a long history of smoking. Malignant tumors occur when more and more changes (mutations) in critical genes accumulate over a lifetime as the altered cells grow uncontrollably. Currently, the most important examination is the microscopic examination of tissue originating from the bronchial system (after a puncture). For further therapy planning, additional examinations of the genetic material originating from the tumor are necessary. This can be used to assess the efficacy of drugs. This laboratory examination is performed on a tissue sample.

If, contrary to expectations, in some cases the tumor does develop further, this can now be detected at an early stage by means of a blood test known as a "liquid biopsy". A new puncture of the bronchial tissue is not necessary for this.

More Information

Lung tumor cells show numerous genetic changes (mutations). In rare cases, however, the mutations can also be inherited and are then detectable in all body cells. In these cases, a predisposition inherited from father or mother is sufficient to increase the risk of lung cancer. In this case, one does not inherit the cancer, but initially only the increased risk of developing cancer at some point. Nevertheless, genetic counseling and, if necessary, DNA diagnostics should be offered in cases of possible familial predisposition.

In common non-hereditary lung cancer, the many different gene mutations occur only in certain cells of the lung. Most of the affected genes interact with other genes and subsequently influence the growth and normal development of the cells and their actually limited lifespan. Mainly long-term smoking, less frequently other (environmental) factors and chronic lung diseases are further causes and risk factors for the various mutations in lung cancer. The tumor tissue develops gradually from single cells and is often not available for diagnosis even when the disease is manifest, because the tumor itself is still small or difficult to reach for puncture.

For therapy planning (here especially drug treatment), a molecular pathological examination (e.g. of the gene EGFR) is essential. This is easily performed on tumor tissue and can be requested from us by your treating physician.