The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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I'm new here.

My husband has just been diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer and waiting to have the treatment. It will either be Chemotherapy or Immunotherapy but can't have the immunotherapy until they get a test back to see if he can have it.

So my question is: Why can't all lung cancer sufferers have immunotherapy?

Thank you for your help in advance.

6 Replies

There are some pre-tests for chemotherapy and immunotherapy to determine such things as liver function, blood analysis, etc. But is it possible your husband is having a biopsy analysis for any molecular mutations to determine his suitability for a targeted therapy? There is information on this in the topics section of this page. My wife had the test earlier this year and has been doing well on a targeted therapy specific to people with the ALK mutation. It is this kind of treatment which not all lung cancer sufferers can have because it is directly linked to targeting those with the known mutations. Whichever option it turns out to be, I hope your husbands treatment goes well and is the best available for him.

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Thank you so much for your reply. We are still waiting for the results of the test and it's a long wait with Christmas and New Year being in the way. Hopefully we might get somewhere soon!!


Hi my husband was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer in march this year, because he was stage 3, the trial is only allowed for people at stage 4.

So he had chemo, radio.

Developed another tumour in the abdominal wall, now classed as stage 4, now has started the immunotherapy treatment.

He sleeps for most of the day, hardly gets up, this is the effects of this treatment.

He was not so tired on chemo as he is on this immunotherapy.

Apparently he has to have a couple of treatments to see true benefits.

It will only control the cancer it will not cure it.

Chemo aims to shrink and can kill cancer cells for good, radio can cure and kill cancer cells,

But it depends on the individual person how well their body responds to the treatment, also how big tumours are, there are lots of factors that can affect the response.

At the beginning my husband was given a couple of chemo treatments as they thought he was squamous cell carcinoma, as biopsy did not show up what cell he was..

After 2 months they re tested himit shown up he was adenocarcinoma then gave treatment for that.

It shrunk by half, but end of second session it had grown, then radio was started, he had lots of side effects from radio for 2 months, just 3 weeks ago another tumour developed.

This is where we are at.



Thank you for your reply And hope your husband gets better with the new treatment.


Hello NTu21,

welcome to our forum, I am very sorry to hear of your husbands recent diagnosis of lung cancer, I hope that by now your husband has had the results of his tests and a treatment plan has commenced.

At the moment Immunotherapy is only used for non-small cell cancer and as a second line treatment, Nivolumab is available in NHS Scotland. At the beginning of December NICE has approved the use of another immunotherapy drug called Pembrolizumab ( Keytruda ) again for non-small cell, for use with patients who have a specific mutation of PDL-1, patients in England and Wales now have access to this treatment. In order to be eligible for Pembrolizumab a biopsy would need to confirm PDL-1 mutation.

I have added a link below to an article on the cancer research website which has some information on Keytruda which may be of interest to you.

The oncologist will be able to discuss all treatment options with you and if your husband is suitable for commencing on immunotherapy.

If you would like to speak with someone we have a nurse led helpline freephone 08003587200

Kind regards the Roy Castle Helpline

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Thank you so much for your in depth clarification.

It's very helpful.


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