Article and Video CATEGORIES

Cancer Journey

Search By

"Exciting Data" Expected for Small Cell Lung Cancer
Dr. Cathy Pietanza

Dr. Cathy Pietanza

Guest post by Dr. Cathy Pietanza, a board-certified medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She specializes in cancers that arise in the lungs and cares for a large number of patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC).


The 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Meeting likely will bring some exciting news for patients diagnosed with small cell lung cancer (SCLC), a malignancy that afflicts nearly 30,000 individuals in the US each year with corresponding poor outcomes.  This disease has not been well-studied for multiple reasons: patients often cannot provide enough of their tumors for evaluation, patients tend to be very sick at diagnosis, a lack of a true understanding of the biology of the malignancy, and not enough interest both on the part of researchers and pharmaceutical companies.   Therefore, the disease has lagged behind non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) for new breakthroughs and novel drugs for treatment.  However, this is starting to change and at this meeting, we will see exciting data. 

First, several research groups have taken on tremendous efforts to collect tumor tissue in SCLC and complete comprehensive genomic analyses.  These studies are important as they continue to provide information about the different mutations in SCLC and whether, like in NSCLC, these can be “targeted” with new drugs.  Further, these types of evaluations may lead us to predict which patients with the disease will do better (or worse) at the time they are diagnosed.  These genomic analyses have changed care in NSCLC and we hope that the reports provided at ASCO may begin to do the same in SCLC. 

We will see early data from studies evaluating new drugs in SCLC.  The most interesting aspect of most of the studies is that the novel agents are being developed to target specific proteins, receptors, and/or genes in SCLC.  The clinical trials are prospectively collecting SCLC tumor tissue and blood (particularly, circulating DNA and tumor cells) to determine if SCLC patients with high expression of these proteins, receptors and/or genes will have better outcomes when treated with the specific, corresponding drugs. 

Lastly, immunotherapies have FINALLY been studied in SCLC patients and we will discover the results of two large studies.  For several years now, we have heard and seen how successful these drugs have been in NSCLC patients.  Studying these agents in SCLC has lagged behind.  However, the results of these studies have potential to greatly impact how we treat SCLC and more importantly, make a difference in the lives of patients with this disease.   

I am anticipating that this ASCO will bear great news for SCLC.  And I hope that it will be the impetus to increase the number of studies done in this disease, to bring greater drugs to the FDA for approval in this malignancy, and most importantly, to improve the lives of SCLC patients. 

The ASCO Annual Meeting brings together 30,000 oncology professionals from around the world. Educational sessions feature world-renowned faculty discussing state-of-the-art treatment modalities, new therapies, and ongoing controversies in the field. The meeting will take place May 29 – June  2, 2015.  

Follow all of the ASCO happenings on Twitter at #ASCO15, @cancerGRACE, and @jackwestmd.

Next Previous link

Previous PostNext Post

Related Content

Lung Cancer OncTalk 2023
At our live event, Lung Cancer OncTalk 2023, Dr. Yang, Das, and Dagogo-Jack discuss commonly used terms in treatment options for lung cancer, how oncologists determine the stage of lung cancer, and what that means for treatment, the importance of driver mutation in NSCLC treatment, the vast number of NSCLC trials, among other topics which involve lung cancer treatments. To watch the complete playlist click here.
Lung Cancer OncTalk 2023
At our live event, Lung Cancer OncTalk 2023, Dr. Jeff Yang, discusses different surgical procedures used to treat early-stage lung cancer and different approaches to removing cancerous tissue from the lung. 
Lung Cancer OncTalk 2023
At our live event, Lung Cancer OncTalk 2023, Dr. Millie Das, discusses different Studies and Trials for NSCLC. Dr. Das specializes in the treatment of thoracic malignancies. She sees and treats patients both at the Stanford Cancer Center and at the Palo Alto VA Hospital. She is the Chief of Oncology at the Palo Alto VA and is an active member of the VA National Lung Cancer Working Group and Lung Cancer Precision Oncology Program. Learn more about Dr. Das here.

Forum Discussions

Hi and welcome to Grace.  Wow, I don't know why you can't get in to see your doc but I'd find a way or find another doc who can walk you...

Hi Amber, Welcome to Grace.  I'm so sorry you're going through this scare.  It could be a recurrence.  It also is as likely to be the contrast creating a better view. ...

Hi Blaze,


As much as I hate to say it, Welcome back Blaze.  It sounds like you're otherwise feeling good and enjoying life which is a wonderful place to be. ...

Waiting for my appointment with oncologist this morning. Thank you for the response. It helps. <3

It sounds like you’re thinking of this in a very appropriate way. Specifically, it sounds like the growth of the nodule is rather modest, though keep in mind that the change...

Hi and welcome to GRACE.  I'm sorry your mom is having this difficulty.  An indwelling catheter is used when the pleura space continually fills and the catheter is always there to...

Recent Comments

Joanne indwelling catheters
By arm2966 on
Hi and welcome to Grace. …
By JanineT GRACE … on
Hi Amber, Welcome to Grace. …
By JanineT GRACE … on
Could you
By Maeve785 on