Advances in Small Cell Lung Cancer

Hematol Oncol Clin North Am. 2017 Feb;31(1):143-156. doi: 10.1016/j.hoc.2016.08.005.


Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive neuroendocrine tumor characterized by early metastatic spread and responsiveness to initial therapy. The incidence of SCLC has been declining in the United States in parallel with the decreasing prevalence of cigarette smoking. Limited stage disease is potentially curable with chemoradiotherapy followed by cranial irradiation. Extensive stage disease is incurable, but systemic chemotherapy can improve quality of life and prolong survival. Nearly all patients relapse with chemoresistant disease. Molecularly targeted therapy has failed to yield convincing clinical benefits. Nevertheless, many biologically rational strategies, including immune checkpoint inhibition, show promise in ongoing clinical trials.

Keywords: Chemotherapy; Genomics; Immunotherapy; Lung cancer; Radiation therapy; Small cell; Targeted therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemoradiotherapy / methods*
  • Cranial Irradiation
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Quality of Life
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / mortality
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / pathology
  • Small Cell Lung Carcinoma / therapy*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / mortality
  • Smoking / pathology
  • Survival Rate