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Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Limited-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment

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Treatment options for older patients

The optimal therapeutic approach in older patients remains unclear. A population analysis showed that increasing age was associated with a decreased performance status and increased comorbidity.[35] Older patients were less likely to be treated with combined chemoradiation therapy, more intensive chemotherapy, and PCI. Older patients were also less likely to respond to therapy and had poorer survival outcomes. Whether this was a result of age and its associated comorbidities or suboptimal treatment delivery remains uncertain.

No specific phase III trial in older patients with LD SCLC has been reported; however, three secondary analyses of two cooperative group trials have been published evaluating outcomes in patients aged 70 years or older.[36,37,38] The survival outcomes for the older patients were identical to their younger counterparts in both trials. The older patients experienced more toxic effects, particularly hematologic, compared with younger patients. There was a significant increase in treatment-related mortality in the EST-3588 trial that compared etoposide and cisplatin with either once-daily or twice-daily radiation therapy (1% for patients aged <70 years vs. 10% for patients aged ≥70 years; P = .01).[37] Because the older patients enrolled in these phase III trials may not be representative of LD SCLC patients in the general population, caution must be exercised in extrapolating these results to the general population of older patients.

Treatment Options Under Clinical Evaluation

Treatment options under clinical evaluation for patients with LD SCLC include the following:

  • New drug regimens.
  • Surgical resection of the primary tumor.
  • New radiation therapy schedules and techniques (e.g., timing, three-dimensional treatment planning, and dose fractionation).

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

References:

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Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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