MicroRNA expression distinguishes SCLC from NSCLC lung tumor cells and suggests a possible pathological relationship between SCLCs and NSCLCs
Refinements in the use of chemotherapy, both alone and in combination with chest irradiation, have prolonged the survival of patients with limited-disease small cell lung cancer in the last two decades. Based on reviews of trials of patients with both limited and extensive disease, these improvements appear to transcend adjustments made in the staging of limited disease. Alternation of chemotherapy regimens according to the Goldie-Coldman hypothesis has not proven advantageous in this setting. Etoposide combined with cisplatin has been effective as a salvage regimen for previously treated small cell lung cancer, and is particularly useful in first-line treatment approaches when given concurrently with chest irradiation. Although prophylactic cranial irradiation has reduced central nervous system recurrence in complete responders, its role remains controversial due to an unclear effect on survival and associated long-term toxicities. Our present understanding of the biology of limited-disease small cell lung cancer should lead to further refinements in treatment.