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Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for ~15% of lung cancer cases, with ~90% of cases attributed to cigarette smoking. SCLC is sub-divided into two stages – limited stage and extensive stage. Limited stage SCLC is usually confined to one lung and the adjacent lymph nodes, and extensive stage if more widely disseminated.
SCLC grows rapidly, spreads quickly and is extremely sensitive to systemic chemotherapy (alone or in combination with radiotherapy). However, relapse in SCLC is common, and treatment beyond first line is limited. Additionally, surgery isn’t generally a standard treatment option for SCLC as it’s usually spread by the time of diagnosis. Compared with NSCLC, the therapeutic options for SCLC are more limited overall, although there are now immunotherapies available for the treatment of SCLC, and many ongoing clinical trials to hopefully expand the therapeutic armamentarium.View overview page