Surgery for Early-Stage Small Cell Lung Cancer

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Limited-stage small cell lung cancer remains one of the more frustrating malignancies to treat. Current standard of care typically includes platinum-based chemotherapy with thoracic radiation, and although response to therapy is high, most patients will ultimately experience relapse and die of recurrent disease. No high-level data exist supporting surgical resection of early-stage disease; however, several retrospective reviews and small single-arm studies suggest surgery may benefit patients with very limited extent of disease. This article reviews the available literature, and proposes guidelines for including potentially curative resection in the management of patients with limited-stage small cell lung cancer.

Correspondence: Bryan J. Schneider, MD, Weill Cornell Medical College, 525 East 68th Street, Payson Pavilion, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10021. E-mail: bjs2004@med.cornell.edu
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