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What is the Treatment of Extensive Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer?
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for approximately 15% of bronchogenic carcinomas.

At the time of diagnosis, approximately 30% of patients with SCLC will have tumors confined to the hemithorax of origin, the mediastinum, or the supraclavicular lymph nodes. These patients are designated as having limited-stage disease (LD).  Patients with tumors that have spread beyond the supraclavicular areas are said to have extensive-stage disease (ED).

SCLC is more responsive to chemotherapy and radiation therapy than other cell types of lung cancer; however, a cure is difficult to achieve because SCLC has a greater tendency to be widely disseminated by the time of diagnosis.

An important prognostic factor for SCLC is the extent of disease. Patients with limted stage (LD) disease have a better prognosis than patients with extensive stage. For patients with LD, median survival of 16 to 24 months and 5-year survivals of 14% with current forms of treatment have been reported.  Patients diagnosed with LD who smoke should be encouraged to stop smoking before undergoing combined-modality therapy because continued smoking may compromise survival.

Improved long-term survival in patients with LD has been shown with combined-modality therapy.  Although long-term survivors have been reported among patients who received either surgery or chemotherapy alone, chemotherapy combined with thoracic radiation therapy (TRT) is considered the standard of care.  Adding TRT increases absolute survival by approximately 5% over chemotherapy alone.  The optimal timing of TRT relative to chemotherapy has been evaluated in multiple trials and meta-analyses with the weight of evidence suggesting a small benefit to early TRT.

In patients with ED, median survival of 6 to 12 months is reported with currently available therapy, but long-term disease-free survival is rare.

Prophylactic cranial radiation prevents central nervous system recurrence and can improve survival in patients who have had a complete response to chemoradiation

Limited-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer

In limited-stage cancer is found in one lung, the tissues between the lungs, and nearby lymph nodes only.

Extensive-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer

In extensive-stage cancer has spread outside of the lung in which it began or to other parts of the body


Surgery may be used if the cancer is found in one lung and in nearby lymph nodes only. Because this type of lung cancer is usually found in both lungs, surgery alone is not often used. Occasionally, surgery may be used to help determine the patient’s exact type of lung cancer. During surgery, the doctor will also remove lymph nodes to see if they contain cancer.

Even if the doctor removes all the cancer that can be seen at the time of the operation, some patients may be given chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery to kill any cancer cells that are left. Treatment given after the surgery, to lower the risk that the cancer will come back, is called adjuvant therapy.


Chemotherapy is a cancer treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. When chemotherapy is taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, the drugs enter the bloodstream and can reach cancer cells throughout the body (systemic chemotherapy).

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells or keep them from growing. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. Prophylactic cranial irradiation (radiation therapy to the brain to reduce the risk that cancer will spread to the brain) may also be given. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated.

Laser therapy

Laser therapy is a cancer treatment that uses a laser beam (a narrow beam of intense light) to kill cancer cells.

Endoscopic stent placement

An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument used to look at tissues inside the body. An endoscope has a light and a lens for viewing and may be used to place a stent in a body structure to keep the structure open. Endoscopic stent placement can be used to open an airway blocked by abnormal tissue.

Here, Dr. Tony Talebi discusses the general concepts of what is the treatment of extensive stage small cell lung cancer with Dr. Jorge Gomez, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Miami.  Discussion include small cell lung cancer prognosis, what causes small cell lung cancer, signs of small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer symptoms, small cell lungs cancer, small cell lung cancer stage 4, treatment of small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer association, stage four small cell lung cancer, small cell small cell lung cancer, symtoms of small cell lung cancer, causes of small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer chemotherapy, what is small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancers, small cell lung cancer information, small cell lung cancer prevention, stage 4 small cell lung cancer, information about small cell lung cancer, stage iv small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer signs, small cell lung cancer symptom, is small cell lung cancer curable, stage 3b small cell lung cancer, small cell lungs cancer symptoms, survival rates for small cell lung cancer, symptoms of small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer survivors, small cell lung cancer symptons, small cell lung cancer survival, treatments of small cell lung cancer, symptons of small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer statistics, non small cell small cell lung cancer, chemo for small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer survival rate, large cell small cell lung cancer, effects of small cell lung cancer, small cell lung cancer screening, small cell lung cancer diagnosis, small cell lung cancer societ small cell lung cancer clinical trials, small cell lung cancer metastasis, survival rate small cell lung cancer, symptom of small cell lung cancer, info on small cell lung cancer, new treatments for small cell lung cancer, how common is small cell lung cancer


Dr. Jorge Gomez credentials:

Certifications                   American Board of Internal Med-Medical Oncology


  • Hematology/Oncology - Internal Medicine
  • Internal Medicine


  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
  • University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Clinical Interests

Non-small cell lung cancer

Small cell lung cancer

Research Interests

Non-small cell lung cancer

Small cell lung cancer

Lung cancer in young adults


2001 Fellowship
New York University School of Medicine
1997 Residency
Pennsylvania Hospital
1995 Internship
Pennsylvania Hospital