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Extensive stage small cell lung cancer: Initial management

Author
Karen Kelly, MD
Section Editors
Rogerio C Lilenbaum, MD, FACP
James R Jett, MD
Steven E Schild, MD
Deputy Editor
Sadhna R Vora, MD

INTRODUCTION

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a neuroendocrine tumor that represents about 15 percent of all lung cancers. SCLC occurs predominantly in smokers. (See "Cigarette smoking and other possible risk factors for lung cancer".)

SCLC is distinguished clinically from most types of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) by its rapid doubling time, high growth fraction, and the early development of metastases. Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, a rare form of lung cancer, and extrapulmonary small cell carcinomas are generally treated with the same chemotherapy regimens used for SCLC. (See "Extrapulmonary small cell cancer" and "Pathology of lung malignancies", section on 'Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma'.)

SCLC usually presents with disseminated disease, and treatment strategies have focused on systemic therapy. Although SCLC is highly responsive to both chemotherapy and radiotherapy (RT), it commonly relapses within months despite treatment.

The initial management of patients with extensive stage SCLC will be reviewed here. Related topics include:

(See "Pathobiology and staging of small cell carcinoma of the lung".)

                               

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Tue May 12 00:00:00 GMT+00:00 2015.
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