Treatment for small cell lung cancer, where are we now?—a review
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) represents between 13% and 15% of all diagnosed lung cancers worldwide. It is an aggressive neoplasia, with a 5-year mortality of 90% or more. It has historically been classified as limited disease (LD) and extensive disease (ED) in most study protocols. The cornerstone of treatment for any stage of SCLC is etoposide-platinum based chemotherapy; in limited stage (LS), concomitant radiotherapy to thorax and mediastinum. Prophylactic radiotherapy to the central nervous system (CNS) [prophylactic cerebral irradiation (PCI)] has diminished the incidence of brain metastasis as the site for relapse in LD and ED patients, therefore it should be offered to patients with complete response to induction first-line treatment. Regarding second-line treatment, results are more modest and topotecan is accepted as treatment for this scenario offering a modest benefit.