After first-line platinum-based chemotherapy fails, patients with small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) have only a limited number of alternatives for treatment. For a study, researchers sought to assess the effectiveness and safety of second-line chemotherapy combined with apatinib for advanced SCLC.

Patients receiving second-line chemotherapy together with apatinib until disease progression or severe toxicity were enrolled in the prospective clinical study. Calculating samples included the use of logrank test power analysis. Progression-free survival (PFS) was the main goal, whereas objective response rate (ORR), disease control rate (DCR), overall survival (OS), and safety were the secondary objectives.

Up till October 2019, a total of 29/31 enrolled patients were accessible for response evaluation. The ORR and DCR were 27.59% (8/29) and 96.55% (28/29), respectively. In comparison to the typical second-line chemotherapies, the median PFS and OS were 7.36 months and 14.16 months, respectively, demonstrating greater effectiveness. Neutropenia (41.94%, 13/31) and leucopenia (35.48%, 11/31) were the most frequent adverse events (AEs), followed by thrombocytopenia (25.81%, 8/31) and thrombocytopenia. Twelve individuals (38.71%) experienced grade 3–4 adverse events (AEs), with neutropenia (19.35%, 6/31), leucopenia (9.68%, 3/31), and proteinuria (6.45%, 2/31) being the most prevalent. Patients who received a 250 mg starting dosage of apatinib showed improved tolerance.

In advanced SCLC patients, antiangiogenic treatment combined with chemotherapy showed good effectiveness, which sheds light on the state of second-line therapy in SCLC today.