Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer death; however, no specific serum biomarker is available till date for detection of early lung cancer. Despite good initial response to chemotherapy, small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) has a poor prognosis. Therefore, it is important to identify molecular markers that might influence survival and may serve as potential therapeutic targets. The review aims to summarize the current knowledge of serum biomarkers in SCLC to improve diagnostic efficiency in the detection of tumor progression in lung cancer. The current knowledge on the known serum cytokines and tumor biomarkers of SCLC is emphasized. Recent findings in the search for novel diagnostic and therapeutic molecular markers using the emerging genomic technology for detecting lung cancer are also described. It is believed that implementing these new research techniques will facilitate and improve early detection, prognostication and better treatment of SCLC.