Understanding Lung Cancer Medications (cont.)
Mary L Windle, PharmD
Winston W Tan, MD
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Koyamangalath Krishnan, MD, FRCP
IN THIS ARTICLE
Depending on the type and stage of lung cancer, chemotherapy may slow tumor growth. For example, non-small cell lung cancer does not respond well to chemotherapy drugs, whereas early-stage small cell lung cancer (oat cell lung cancer) may be very responsive to chemotherapy. Although the precise methods may vary, all chemotherapy drugs work by decreasing the ability of cancer cells to reproduce. Platinum alkylators, podophyllin alkaloids, vinca alkaloids, anthracyclines, topoisomerase inhibitors, taxanes, antimetabolites, tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and folate antagonists are chemotherapy drugs commonly used to treat lung cancers.
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Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) differs from other lung cancer types because of its rapid growth and propensity for early dissemination.