Commenting on the findings, Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, said: "This is a most interesting and potentially important study, as improving the survival rates of patients with relatively advanced lung cancer remains an important but difficult-to-achieve goal."
Vaccines to treat cancer have been around for a while with rather modest success so far, he said.
"While it is too early to call this study a breakthrough, it certainly is quite promising," added Edelman, who was not involved in the study.
A "randomized" trial -- one that randomly assigns patients to receive either the active vaccine or an inactive vaccine -- is needed to determine the real benefit of the therapy before it can be used to treat patients, however, Edelman noted.
"It is important to understand that this is prolongation of life and not a cure," Edelman said. "If the randomized trial confirms the findings, the approach will represent a significant contribution to the management of more advanced lung cancers."
The study findings were slated for presentation Wednesday at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in Chicago.
Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
For more about lung cancer, visit the U.S. National Cancer Institute.
SOURCES: Norman Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer, American Lung Association; April 4, 2012, presentation, American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, Chicago
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