Treatment advances in small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

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Abstract

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is an aggressive tumor characterized by rapid doubling time and high propensity for early development of disseminated disease. Although most patients respond to initial therapy with a platinum doublet, the majority of those with limited stage and virtually all patients with metastatic disease eventually develop tumor progression for which there are limited treatment options. There have been no recent changes in the treatment of SCLC, with platinum plus etoposide and topotecan as the standard first-line and second-line respectively, neither showing survival benefit over the combination of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and vincristine, which was developed in the 1970s. More recently, a new understanding of the biology of SCLC has led to the development of novel drugs, of which the most promising are the immune checkpoint inhibitors and the antibody drug conjugate rovalpituzumab tesirine.

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