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Keck Medicine of USC is the University of Southern California’s medical enterprise, one of only two university-owned academic medical centers in the Los Angeles area.

USC Lung Cancer Program

Medical Oncology

At the USC Lung Cancer Program, our medical oncologists are ready to help you by leveraging the power of the most advanced lung cancer medicines and treatment therapies. Whether you have small cell lung cancer or non-small cell lung cancer, early stage lung cancer or stage 4 lung cancer, our medical oncology experts work in tandem with your radiation oncologist and/or surgical oncologist to design a comprehensive treatment plan, tailored just for you.

Doctor and patient smiling at one another during a consultation

Our offerings

  • Access to clinical trials
  • Advanced medication-based therapies
  • Chemotherapy
  • Comprehensive evaluations
  • Coordinated care
  • Immunotherapy
  • Individualized treatment plans
  • Targeted therapy

Personalized treatment plans

Creating your individualized lung cancer treatment plan includes a comprehensive evaluation by our medical oncology team. Our experts examine every aspect of your diagnosis to map out the unique genetic blueprint of your lung cancer type and stage. Equipped with this vital information, our medical oncologists are able to design a treatment plan, customized just for you, that leverages powerful medicines and the latest breakthroughs in lung cancer care.

Depending on your diagnosis, our medical oncologists may recommend immunotherapy, chemotherapy or a combination of both. If you’re a candidate, they will discuss the role of targeted therapies in your care plan. And while there may not be a cure for stage 4 metastatic lung cancer yet, our medical oncology specialists can help you evaluate whether participating in a clinical trial may be the right choice for you. Our team will be by your side, managing the complexities of lung cancer treatment, so you can focus all of your efforts on your recovery and well-being.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy, which is now considered a mainstay for lung cancer treatment, harnesses your immune system to attack cancer cells. Pembrolizumab (Keytruda), nivolumab (Opdivo) and atezolizumab (Tecentriq) are examples of immunotherapy medications that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treating small cell and non-small cell lung cancer. Immunotherapy can be used by itself or in combination with chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy uses medication to fight and destroy cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs may be taken orally or given intravenously. A combination of drugs usually is given in a series of treatments, over a period of weeks or months, depending on how it is tolerated and, importantly, if a remission in the cancer is seen. Chemotherapy is often used after surgery to destroy any cancer cells that may remain. It may also be used before surgery to shrink cancers and make them easier to remove. In some cases, chemotherapy can be used to relieve pain and other symptoms of advanced cancer. Chemotherapy may be a treatment option for patients with small cell lung cancer or non-small cell lung cancer.

Targeted therapies

Targeted therapies are newer cancer treatments that work by targeting specific abnormalities that are driving the cancer cells to grow and divide. In this way, treatment is personalized to the patient’s specific cancer target. Specialized molecular testing is performed on an individual’s cancer cells to find these driver mutations. Many of the drugs that target these mutations are pills and have a high chance of shrinking cancer, resulting in lasting remissions. Unlike chemotherapy, which destroys all cells that grow quickly — making no distinction between cancerous and noncancerous cells — targeted therapy focuses just on cancer cells.

Access to clinical trials

The USC Lung Cancer Program’s medical oncologists are part of an active community of lung cancer researchers. This gives our patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials that hold the promise of advancing lung cancer treatment. Learn about our lung cancer research

Our team

Jorge J. Nieva, MD
Bing Xia, MD

News and Stories

Meet Jason Ye, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology

Dr. Ye is a radiation oncologist at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center at Keck Medicine of USC. He specializes in a wide array of advanced radiation treatment techniques for people with lung, breast, brain and spine tumors. Here’s what you won’t find on his resume. He can’t wait to swim with manta rays in Kona.