Purpose of review Extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC) remains a disease with a dismal prognosis, with median survival of approximately 8-10 months. Despite many attempts to develop effective systemic therapies, very little progress has been made in the last several decades. Platinum-based combination chemotherapy remains the standard of care in the first-line setting and is associated with high response rates albeit short-lived. However, there have been recent advances in the use of radiation therapy, as well as new insights into the biology of SCLC. Recent findings Some of the most appreciable advances in the last decade have involved the use of local radiation therapy. With the use of new laboratory techniques such as genomic sequencing, there remains promise of rationally targeted drug development. Circulating tumor cell research may also provide insights to SCLC biology and further refine treatment. Summary Systemic therapy for SCLC has changed little over the past 30 years with the most significant advances in ES-SCLC relating to radiotherapy rather than systemic therapy. The effectiveness of prophylactic cranial irradiation and thoracic radiotherapy has renewed interest in therapeutics focused on the modulation of DNA damage or repair. Recent developments in genomic sequencing and immunotherapy may translate to new treatment paradigms for SCLC.
- genomic sequencing
- prophylactic cranial irradiation
- small cell lung cancer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research