NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Lung Cancer - Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

47 NCCN Guidelines for Patients ® : Lung Cancer – Non-Small Cell, 2018 Chemotherapy Chemotherapy, or “chemo,” includes drugs that disrupt the life cycle of cancer cells. The types of chemotherapy differ in the way they work. Some kill cancer cells by damaging their DNA or by disrupting the making of DNA. Others interfere with cell parts that are needed for making new cells. Thus, no new cells are made to replace dying cells. Chemotherapy can affect both cancer and normal cells. Some chemotherapy drugs work when cells are in an active growth phase. See Figure 16 . During the active growth phase, cells grow and divide to form a new cell. Chemotherapy that disrupts the growth phase works well for cancer cells that are growing and dividing quickly. Other chemotherapy drugs work in any growth or resting phase. 5 Overview of cancer treatments Chemotherapy Figure 16 Chemotherapy and the cell cycle A cell goes through many changes to divide into two cells. Science has grouped these changes into 7 main phases. There may be another phase of rest, too. Some chemotherapy drugs work in any phase. Other chemotherapy drugs work in one or two growth phases. In growth phases, DNA is copied and two full sets of chromosomes are made. A full set of chromosomes is pulled into each end of the cell. The cell then divides into two cells each with their own set of chromosomes. Copyright © 2017 National Comprehensive Cancer Network ® (NCCN ® ). Chemotherapy may work in some or all phases of cell division.