Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, and approximately 15% of all lung cancer patients have small-cell lung cancer (SCLC). Although second-line chemotherapy can produce tumor regression, the prognosis is poor. Amrubicin hydrochloride (AMR) is a synthetic anthracycline anticancer agent and a potent topoisomerase II inhibitor. Here, we discuss the features of SCLC, the chemistry, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of AMR, the results of in vitro and in vivo studies, and the efficacy and safety of AMR monotherapy and combination therapy in clinical trials. With its predictable and manageable toxicities, AMR is one of the most attractive agents for the treatment of chemotherapy-sensitive and -refractory relapsed SCLC. Numerous studies are ongoing to define the applicability of AMR therapy for patients with SCLC. These clinical trials, including phase III studies, will clarify the status of AMR in the treatment of SCLC.
Keywords: amrubicin; amrubicinol; refractory relapse; second-line chemotherapy; sensitive relapse; topoisomerase II inhibitor.