Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for 13% of all lung tumours. The standard treatment in patients with limited-stage (LS) disease is thoracic radiotherapy (TRT) combined with chemotherapy. In extensive-stage (ES) SCLC, the importance of consolidation TRT in patients with a good treatment response has become increasingly recognized. In both LS and ES disease, prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) is recommended in patients who respond to treatment.
New therapeutic approaches such as immunotherapy are being increasingly incorporated into the treatment of SCLC, although more slowly than in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Diverse radiation dose and fractionation schemes, administered in varying combinations with these new drugs, are being investigated. In the present article we review and update the role of radiotherapy in the treatment of SCLC. We also discuss the main clinical trials currently underway in order to identify future trends.
Relevance for patients: Radiotherapy is a critical component of multi-modality treatment of SCLC. This article can help physicians to improve medical knowledge and find better ways to treat their SCLC patients.
1. Department of Radiation Oncology. Hospital del Mar. Barcelona.
2. Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM)
3. Pompeu Fabra University. Barcelona.
4. Department of Radiation Oncology. Hospital Sant Joan Reus. Tarragona
Núria Rodríguez de Dios
Department of Radiation Oncology. Hospital del Mar. Passeig Marítim, 25-29, 08003 Barcelona. Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM). Doctor Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona. Pompeu Fabra University. Barcelona. Doctor Aiguader, 80, 08003 Barcelona Tel: 003493 367 4144. E-mail:
Oncologic Group for the Study of Lung Cancer, Spanish Radiation Oncology Society
Radiation Oncology Department, Hospital Universitario Quirónsalud Madrid; Hospital La Luz, Madrid; Universidad Europea de Madrid, Spain