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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2006 Sep 1;66(1):108-16.

Comparison of outcomes for patients with medically inoperable Stage I non-small-cell lung cancer treated with two-dimensional vs. three-dimensional radiotherapy.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



This retrospective analysis was performed to assess the outcomes of three-dimensional (3D) conformal radiotherapy and two-dimensional (2D) planning.


Between 1978 and 2003, 200 patients with Stage I non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were treated with radiotherapy alone at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Eighty-five patients were treated with 3D conformal radiotherapy. For the 3D group, median age, radiation dose, and follow-up was 73 (range, 50-92), 66 Gy (range, 45-90.3 Gy), and 19 months (range, 3-77 months), respectively; and for the 2D group, 69 (range, 44-88), 64 Gy (range, 20-74 Gy), 20 months (range, 1-173 months), respectively. Overall survival (OS), disease-specific survival (DSS), disease-free survival (DFS), locoregional control (LRC), and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) rates were analyzed.


There was no statistically significant difference in patient and tumor characteristics between 2D and 3D groups, except the 3D patients were older (p = 0.006). The OS, DSS, and LRC rates were significantly higher in patients who were treated by 3D conformal radiotherapy. Two- and 5-year OS for the 3D group were 68% and 36%, respectively, and 47% and 10% in the 2D group (p = 0.001). DSS at 2 and 5 years for the 3D group were 83% and 68%, respectively, vs. 62% and 29% in the 2D group (p < 0.001). LRC rates at 2 and 5 years for patients in the 3D group were 77% and 70% and 53% and 34% in the 2D group (p < 0.001). On univariate analysis elective, nodal irradiation was associated with decreased OS, DSS, and LRC. On multivariate analysis, 3D conformal radiotherapy was associated with increased OS and DSS. Male sex, age > or =70, weight loss > or =5%, and tumor size > or =4 cm were associated with decreased OS and DSS.


This study demonstrates that 3D conformal radiotherapy improves outcomes in patients with medically inoperable Stage I NSCLC compared with 2D treatment and is an acceptable treatment for this group of patients.

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