As medicine gets better at prolonging the lives of some patients with lung cancer, doctors need a better tool to estimate their patients’ prognoses, say researchers in a report published last week in JAMA Oncology.

“In the past, conventional wisdom was that all patients with brain metastases died within 3 to 6 months. Now we know the median survival for some of these patients (ALK-positive) is nearly 4 years,” said Dr Sperduto in a press statement.

The new tool, known as the Lung Graded Prognostic Assessment (Lung-molGPA), now incorporates data from patients with genetic alterations who have better survival. The tool is a free smartphone/online app that is available at

The ramifications of the new tool in the clinic are significant, suggested Dr Sperduto.

“Having a more accurate estimate of survival will affect patients’ and doctors’ choices about how they wish to spend their time and what treatments are most appropriate,” he said.