Bookshelf |

Cancer of the Lung: From Molecular Biology to Treatment Guidelines FREE TO VIEW

Albert Miller, MD, FCCP
Chest. 2002;122(3):1108-1109. doi:10.1378/chest.122.3.1108-a
Text Size: A A A
Published online


By Alan B. Weitberg, ed. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press, 2002; 356 pp; $125

Cancer of the Lung: From Molecular Biology to Treatment Guidelines makes a good-faith effort to cover a huge subject, encompassing basic science, epidemiology, and clinical medicine. It addresses all or most of the expected areas: epidemiology, pathology, molecular biology, diagnostic techniques, staging, and treatment modalities. Many of these areas are comprehensively covered; for other areas, no more than general textbook discussions on pulmonary medicine or oncology are offered. Some are not covered at all. For instance, mesothelioma, a malignancy of interest to many potential readers of this book, was not included. Each chapter is comprehensively referenced, and this alone is a valuable feature.

The fact that this book attempts to cover so vast a subject, which is of interest to practitioners and researchers in a large number of disciplines, shows its inherent limitations. Some subjects are treated too minimally to provide new information to specialists in the field; information on other subjects is provided in a mode that is too technical for those seeking a basic orientation or an update in a field not of their expertise. This reviewer, a clinical and academic pulmonologist with a major interest in the early detection of lung cancer, remained unsatisfied by the two chapters on molecular biology. The first chapter, subtitled “A Primer,” did not provide enough background or sufficiently define its specific subjects or terms. The second, subtitled “A Detailed Analysis,” repeated the format of the first but did not provide much additional information.

Timeliness is a major problem for any book on a subject in which rapid expansions in knowledge and experience are taking place. Many topics were very usefully current; the several chapters on medical therapy and radiation that discuss new insights, agents, and combinations stand out in this regard. Others barely open the door onto the topic to be covered and provide too little current information for a book copyrighted in 2002. Cases in point include screening for lung cancer (the chapter does not refer to the important article by Henschke in 1999), the use of somatostatin-binding agents to identify malignancy, and the use of minimally invasive surgery. In some discussions, an approach is mentioned, such as graded exercise testing for medical operability and cardiac evaluations for the many patients with significant comorbidities, but no information or guidance is provided.

The book suffers from a yin and yang of chapters by different authors that are sometimes placed far apart but cover the same subject. The differences in opinion and supporting data may be informative, but the authors could risk repetitive failure to cover some topics in sufficient depth. The assertion of personal opinion also was observed. For instance, many readers would not agree that mediastinoscopy should be used “in all patients undergoing resectional surgery for lung cancer.” Also, Tables 1 and 2 in chapter 6 (“Lung-Cancer Staging”) are repeated in chapter 8. This is fortunate, since T3N0M0 is not included in the former, and stage IV is erroneously defined as AT, AN, M0.

The final, very short chapter “Practice Guidelines” provides thoughtful insights into the overall subject but does not provide any information on or give an example of a guideline for lung cancer.

In summary, this book will certainly be a useful resource to generalists who provide much of the initial and subsequent care to patients with lung cancer, as well as to pulmonologists, oncologists, thoracic surgeons, and radiologists who are interested in the fuller picture. These specialists may not find much new information about their own disciplines, but the comprehensive references after each chapter will be useful to the reader seeking more information.




Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

  • CHEST Journal
    Print ISSN: 0012-3692
    Online ISSN: 1931-3543