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Fox Chase Cancer Center Offers Surgery for Small Cell Lung Cancer As Part of Clinical Trial

PHILADELPHIA (March 25, 2003) — Fox Chase Cancer Center is conducting a clinical trial utilizing surgery for the treatment of small cell lung cancer. Generally, surgery is not offered to treat small cell lung cancer because in most cases the cancer has spread to other parts of the body before the disease is diagnosed. Now, physicians at Fox Chase hope surgery after treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will improve patients' outcomes.

"Treating patients who have limited stage small cell lung cancer with chemotherapy and radiation is curative in only about 20 percent of patients," explained Walter J. Scott, thoracic surgical oncologist at Fox Chase Cancer Center. "Surgery to remove primary lung tumor may prove beneficial to the patient's outcome if the chemotherapy and radiation has been successful in decreasing the size of the tumor."

Small cell cancers are often found in the secretory cells that line the major breathing tubes. This cancer grows quickly, spreading to the lymph nodes in the center of the chest usually before it is diagnosed. Small cell lung cancer accounts for about 15 percent of all lung cancer. It is commonly a fast-growing type of lung cancer diagnosed in about 25,000 people in the U.S. annually.

The clinical trial offered by Fox Chase is open to people diagnosed with small cell lung cancer that has not spread beyond the lymph nodes in the center of the chest (limited stage small cell lung cancer). Surgery is offered to patients after they have received the combination therapy of radiation and chemotherapy.

"Treatment for small cell lung cancer has greatly improved in the last 15 to 20 years," explained Benjamin Movsas, MD, vice chairman of radiation oncology and principal investigator of the study. "In the 1970s, only about five to 10 percent of patients survived for five years after a diagnosis of small cell lung cancer. Now, 25 percent of patients survive. We want to see that number increase."

For information about this clinical trial or other treatment studies at Fox Chase Cancer Center, please call 1-888-FOX CHASE or log on to www.fccc.edu.


Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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