Extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer: evolution of systemic therapy and future directions

Clin Lung Cancer. 2008 Sep;9(5):262-70. doi: 10.3816/CLC.2008.n.041.


Extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) is one of the most lethal malignancies, with a median overall survival of only 8-10 months with first-line chemotherapy despite response rates of 60%-80%. In the second-line setting, the prognosis is even more limited, with only 20%-30% of patients having a response and a median survival measured in weeks to months. This article will review systemic chemotherapy in first- and second-line treatment of patients with ES-SCLC and discuss novel therapeutic agents, cytotoxic and "targeted," with an emphasis on recently completed clinical trials and ongoing investigations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / pathology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors