The treatment of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) has evolved significantly over the past 3 decades. Single-agent and combination chemotherapies given with radiotherapy have greatly improved response rates and median survival. Combination regimens such as cisplatin/etoposide, carboplatin/etoposide, ifosfamide/carboplatin/etoposide, cyclophosphamide/doxorubicin/vincristine, and etoposide/ifosfamide/cisplatin have all achieved good response rates. Improving long-term survival, however, has remained problematic. Treatment with biological response modifiers (interferons alpha and gamma) has not shown promise in this setting. New agents showing good preliminary single-agent activity in untreated SCLC include paclitaxel, vinorelbine, gemcitabine, topotecan, and teniposide. Results obtained with single-agent docetaxel and CPT-11 are thus far inconclusive. Studies evaluating response and survival rates of these new agents in combination with agents of known activity are underway.