Immunotherapy For Lung Cancer
for lung cancer

Immunotherapy for Stage III NSCLC

Surgery is the standard treatment for stage III locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients if the tumor is resectable. Neoadjuvant and/or adjuvant treatments with chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be applied to shrink the tumor and control tumor growth.

For patients who are not suitable for operation, in the past 20 years, concurrent or sequential chemotherapy and radiation therapy were the only treatment options*. Yet the long-term outcomes were poor.43

* Concurrent radiotherapy was defined as radiotherapy that was started during the chemotherapy period. Sequential radiotherapy was defined as radiotherapy that was started after the chemotherapy had been completed.

Drug Development

In Hong Kong, the Department of Health has now approved a certain immunotherapy treatment for patients with unresectable stage III NSCLC whose disease has not progressed following concurrent platinum-based chemotherapy and radiation therapy.29

An international research has shown that a longer time to disease progression and a survival advantage with immunotherapy following concurrent chemoradiation therapy.47

Stage III NSCLC is a heterogenous disease with many different treatment approaches. Doctors will choose the suitable treatments for patients based on their conditions.

Drug Assistance Item46

The main objective of The Comunity Care Fund (CCF) is to provide assistance to people facing financial difficulties. Immunotherapy has been included in the subsidy coverage of the CCF Medical Assistance Programme since May 2020, for treating patients with stage III NSCLC. To be eligible for financial assistance, the patient must be an HA patient and fulfill all of the following requirements.

Clinical Requirement

Identity Requirement

The patient must be an "Eligible Person" within the meaning of the latest relevant government gazette published under the Hospital Authority Ordinance (Cap. 113).

Financial Condition Requirement

Applicants must pass a "household-based" financial assessment conducted by Medical Social Worker (MSW).46

* Research has shown that patients with PD-L1 expression level less than 1% can still receive immunotherapy. Patients who fulfill medical requirements can receive immunotherapy as self-financed item, for a maximum period of 12 months.47