The State of Global Lung Cancer Research 2004 – 2018
Report by the ICP published 2020
This study shows that between 2004 and 2018, the volume of lung cancer papers increased. It is a benchmark of an era – the world before the pandemic.
The proportion of overall global cancer research dedicated to lung cancer has also increased, though it still lags behind that dedicated to breast cancer. Every country in the top 24 has increased their research output. Some countries – notably China, South Korea, India and Brazil – have risen up the country rankings.
This research was published at a significant moment.
Lung cancer research is funded by many different private and public sources. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant Government and industry rapidly refocussing research budgets towards diagnostics, vaccines and treatments for coronavirus. Research charities and not-for-profit organisations are also feeling the shock; half of the GLCC’s members have seen a decrease in income since the start of the pandemic. 
It is hard to imagine that COVID-19 will not have a profound impact on lung cancer research. But it is essential that lung cancer research budgets are protected as far as possible. This study provides an important benchmark for pre-COVID-19 lung cancer research output, from which we will be able to judge impact in the coming years.
The past decade has shown that research investment brings rewards. Advances have been made across the board in lung cancer – from improved screening and diagnostics, to surgical techniques and precision radiotherapy, to new targeted treatments and immunotherapies.
These advances are saving lives from lung cancer.
The investments we make in lung cancer research today will make a difference for patients tomorrow. We call on all countries to protect and invest in lung cancer research.
How has research output changed globally?
All countries in the top 24 responsible for the majority of lung cancer research have increased their research output between 2004 and 2018. Overall, the volume of published research has nearly tripled, rising from 12,508 papers between 2004 and 2008 to 35,720 papers published between 2014 and 2018.
Fig 1: World Cancer Research Fund, Lung Cancer Statistics, available here: https://www.wcrf.org/dietandcancer/cancertrends/lung-cancer-statistics
You can read more granular detail – at individual country level – in the Country Level Briefing section.
The Institute of Cancer Policy (ICP) brings together a distinguished global faculty dedicated to policy to improve care, education and research in global cancer. Based at King’s College, London and King’s Health Partners, the ICP conducts research into some of the world’s most important cancer public policy issue affecting the most vulnerable cancer patients.
Collaborating through a network of local, national and global partners, the ICP’s mission is to conduct high quality, critical cancer policy research to improve the lives and outcomes of all cancer patients, in all settings.
You can read more about the ICP’s work at: http://instituteofcancerpolicy.org