Introduction: The standard-of-care therapy for extensive-stage SCLC has recently changed with the results of two large randomized trials revealing improved survival with the addition of immunotherapy to first-line platinum or etoposide chemotherapy. This has led to a lack of clarity around the role of consolidative thoracic radiation and prophylactic cranial irradiation in the setting of chemoimmunotherapy. Methods: The American Radium Society Appropriate Use Criteria are evidence-based guidelines for specific clinical conditions that are reviewed by a multidisciplinary expert panel. The guidelines include a review and analysis of current evidence with the application of consensus methodology (modified Delphi) to rate the appropriateness of treatments recommended by the panel for extensive-stage SCLC. Results: Current evidence supports either prophylactic cranial irradiation or surveillance with magnetic resonance imaging every 3 months for patients without evidence of brain metastases. Patients with brain metastases should receive whole-brain radiation with a recommended dose of 30 Gy in 10 fractions. Consolidative thoracic radiation can be considered in selected cases with the recommended dose ranging from 30 to 54 Gy; this recommendation was driven by expert opinion owing to the limited strength of evidence, as clinical trials addressing this question remain ongoing. Conclusions: Radiation therapy remains an integral component in the treatment paradigm for ES-SCLC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Thoracic Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Appropriateness criteria
  • Extensive stage
  • Prophylactic cranial irradiation
  • Small cell lung cancer
  • Thoracic radiation


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