Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a lethal malignancy. Once relapsed, the disease is irreversible and most of the patients will die of cancer aggravation in 1 to 2 months. In the past several decades, little progress has been made in the systemic treatment of SCLC. Apatinib, as a novel small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor specifically targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2), has achieved progress in treatment of a variety of cancers. However, there has been no report of the targeted therapy with apatinib in SCLC yet.Patient concerns:
A 63-year-old man, an ex-smoker, presented with a slight hoarseness and cough. The patient was admitted to our department with a primary diagnosis of SCLC at an extensive stage (ES-SCLC). After 17 months of successful first-, second-, and third-line chemotherapy, the disease eventually became relapsed. Then, apatinib treatment started promptly on demand by the patient and his family.Intervention:
After presenting an informed consent, the patient received apatinib treatment immediately at a dose of 250 mg/day orally.Outcomes:
(1) On the 28th day of apatinib therapy, the symptoms of dyspnea and poor appetite of the patient were notably improved. (2) The CT scan taken on the 70th day showed that the pleural effusion in the left lung almost disappeared. (3) The elevated serum neuron-specific enolase (NSE) level was decreased. The patient died of acute respiratory failure on the 172nd day of apatinib treatment. Importantly, the tumor mass did not enlarge obviously during apatinib treatment.Lessons:
Here, we presented a case with relapsed SCLC who unexpectedly responded to single-agent apatinib treatment. Therefore, this report will shed light on future studies of targeted therapy with apatinib in SCLC at different stages.