Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer in Australia. The Pathways–Lung Groupis investigating how to optimise current and new interventions for lung cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment to reduce the burden of disease. Their current areas of focus include:
Modelling the impact of different lung cancer interventions
Using a microsimulation model of lung cancer, Policy1–Lung, the group is simultaneously modelling the impacts of a range of lung cancer interventions.
Optimising lung cancer screening for Australia
The team is involved in a lung cancer screening trial being conducted in Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong, called The International Lung Screening Trial. The team is modelling the trial outcomes to optimise the harms, benefits and cost-effectiveness of lung cancer screening in the Australian setting.
Analysing the cost-effectiveness of tobacco control policies
The team is also developing a macrosimulation modelling platform of all smoking-related diseases, called a multi-state life table (MSLT). It is designed to model hypothetical scenarios for a defined subset of the population at one point in time. The lung cancer team is using the model to predict the long-term impact of tobacco control interventions, such as mass media antismoking campaigns on the incidence of tobacco-related diseases including cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
Predicting trends in lung cancer mortality
Tobacco control policies , such as tobacco tax, hard-hitting antismoking campaigns and advertising restrictions, have been among Australia’s most successful public health interventions for saving lives and improving health. The team is using statistical projections to tell us the number of past and future lung cancer deaths that have been averted by tobacco initiatives and predict future trends in lung cancer and all smoking-related cancers. The projections will also estimate the number of deaths that could be averted in the future under various tobacco control scenarios, informing advocacy for more life-saving public health interventions.
Investigating the cost-effectiveness and quality-of-life outcomes of targeted- and immunotherapies
There are many promising new drugs in the market and in development that can extend and improve life for people with advanced lung cancer. The group is investigating the patterns of care and uptake of these new therapies for people with metastatic lung cancer.
Examining the causes of lung cancer in non-smokers
Around 35% of lung cancers in women, and 15% among men in Australia are diagnosed in life-long non-smokers. The causes of lung cancer in never-smokers are not well known and the team is investigating factors associated with this disease in large cohort studies.
“Lung cancer screening is a great opportunity to save thousands of Australian lives but there are still many questions to answer. Our targeted research should lead to cost-effective, systematic ways to finding lung cancer early in people with increased risk.”