Small Cell Lung Cancer: Interactive CT Case Study

Medscape Drugs & Diseases


October 23, 2014

Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is shown in this image. SCLC accounts for approximately 15% of bronchogenic carcinomas, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Smoking is the most common cause of SCLC. The earlier in life a person started smoking and the greater the frequency, the greater the risk of development of SCLC. When smoking is combined with other risk factors, the risk of SCLC development is increased. Other risk factors, according to the American Cancer Society, include exposure to radon; asbestos; and workplace chemicals and minerals such as arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, and coal products.

Prognosis is most dependent on extent of disease. For patients with limited-stage disease, medial survival can be 16-24 months, and 5-year survival of 14% has been reported, according to the NCI. In patients with extensive-stage disease, median survival is 6-12 months, and long-term disease-free survival is rare. Combination chemotherapy has been shown to have response rates superior to single-agent chemotherapy. Common combination therapies include cisplatin/etoposide, cisplatin/irinotecan, carboplatin/etoposide, and carboplatin/irinotecan.

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