Modern Staging of Small Cell Lung Cancer

For many years, small cell lung cancer (SCLC) has been staged using the Veterans Affairs classification system, which includes only 2 stages: limited (primary tumor and regional lymph nodes within a tolerable radiation field) and extensive (anything beyond limited stage). The TNM staging system used for non–small cell lung cancer is also prognostic for SCLC and should be integrated into the classification scheme for patients with SCLC. The staging workup for SCLC has traditionally included contrast-enhanced CT scans of the chest and abdomen, bone scan, and MRI or CT scan of the brain. Recent data suggest that PET can improve both staging accuracy and treatment planning in patients with SCLC, although further prospective studies are needed to fully define its role.

Target Audience

This activity has been designated to meet the educational needs of physicians and nurses involved in the management of patients with cancer.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Integrate into professional practice the TNM staging system for the classification of patients with SCLC
  • Describe the optimal staging work-up for patients with SCLC
Additional information

No commercial support was received for this article.

Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.00 Participation
  • 1.00 Nurse
  • 1.00 Physician
Course opens: 
Course expires: 

Gregory P. Kalemkerian, MD
Division of Hematology/Oncology
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Shirish M. Gadgeel, MD
Department of Hematology and Oncology
Wayne State University/Karmanos Cancer Institute
Detroit, Michigan

Available Credit

  • 1.00 Participation
  • 1.00 Nurse
  • 1.00 Physician


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