Since the advent of effective combinations in the early 1970s, results from chemotherapy for small cell lung cancer have improved very little. Maintenance chemotherapy appears of no benefit. Although attractive theoretically, 'non-cross-resistant' combinations may not yet exist, and most data do not support alternating 1 regimen with another. Anticoagulant therapy with warfarin probably does not have a meaningful impact on survival, at least in extensive stage disease. To date the addition of VP-16, an active new agent, has not produced improvement in survival over earlier programs. The most promising leads to date involve dose escalation, especially with cyclophosphamide. Moderate 'outpatient' escalation in limited disease induction therapy produced survival benefit in a randomized trial, and several studies indicate that the incidence of complete response can be increased by more intensive, inpatient 'consolidation' with cyclophosphamide with or without other drugs after the induction period. Some form of local therapy, however, will be necessary to control disease in the chest, even with maximal dose intensification.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine