Targeted therapies in small cell lung cancer

Oncol Lett. 2013 Jan;5(1):3-11. doi: 10.3892/ol.2012.791. Epub 2012 Jul 6.


Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounted for 12.95% of all lung cancer histological types in 2002. Despite trends toward modest improvement in survival, the outcome remains extremely poor. Chemotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment in SCLC. More than two-thirds of patients who succumb to lung cancer in the United States are over 65 years old. Elderly patients tolerate chemotherapy poorly and need novel therapeutic agents. Targeted drugs have less toxicity than chemotherapy drugs, but no targeted agents have been approved for use in the treatment of SCLC patients to date. Certain new targeted agents, including gefitinib, bevacizumab and Bcl-2 inhibitors, offer a promise of improved outcomes, however negative results are more commonly reported than positive. This review focuses on targeted therapies in SCLC.