Extrapulmonary small cell carcinoma: A review

Chang Hsien Lu, Wen Chi Chou, Chih Chen Chen, Jen Tsun Lin, Chung Huang Chan, Kuan Der Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Extrapulmonary small cell carcinoma (EPSCC) is a relatively rare malignancy accounting for only 2.5-4% of all small cell carcinomas. The head and neck, gastrointestinal tract, genitourinary and gynecologic organs are most common tumor sites. EPSCC behaves aggressively like the small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and its prognosis is dismal. Its tumorigenesis and molecular alternations remain poorly understood. The clinical diagnosis, staging and treatment of EPSCC are challenging. The extent of disease is important for prognosis whereas the tumor location affects the choice of treatment modality. Currently there is no standard guideline as yet. Combined modality (surgery, radiation or chemotherapy) treatment has often been applied to limited-stage EPSCCs in which long-term survivors have ever been reported. However, the sequence of these combinations is not well-defined. Palliative chemotherapy is used for extensive and recurrent/ metastatic EPSCCs with high response rate but short progression-free interval. More research is warranted for improving the survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-300
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Internal Medicine of Taiwan
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Extrapulmonary small cell carcinoma (EPSCC)
  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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