Twenty-five years ago, small cell lung cancer was widely considered to be the next cancer added to the list of "curable cancers." This article attempts to summarize the progress made toward that goal since then. Clinical trials have provided landmarks in the therapy of limited-stage small cell lung cancer (LS-SCLC). These are: (a) the proof that thoracic radiation therapy adds to systemic chemotherapy, (b) the superiority of twice-daily radiation therapy over daily fractionation, and (c) the need for prophylactic central nervous system radiation (prophylactic cranial irradiation). Each of these innovations adds about 5%-10% to the overall survival rate. In extensive-stage disease, irinotecan plus cisplatin may be a possible alternative to the "standard" etoposide-cisplatin chemotherapy doublet, but there has been little progress otherwise. It is imperative that, whenever possible, patients be given the opportunity to participate in future clinical trials so that the survival for these patients can continue to improve.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research