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J Thorac Oncol. 2008 Feb;3(2):177-86. doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3181622bdd.

Image-guided radiation therapy for non-small cell lung cancer.

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


Recent developments in image-guided radiotherapy are ushering in a new era of radiotherapy for lung cancer. Positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) has been shown to improve targeting accuracy in 25 to 50% of cases, and four-dimensional CT scanning helps to individualize radiotherapy by accounting for tumor motion. Daily on-board imaging reduces treatment set-up uncertainty and provides information about daily organ motion and variations in anatomy. Image-guided intensity-modulated radiotherapy may allow for the escalation of radiotherapy dose with no increase in toxicity. More importantly, treatment adaptations based on anatomic changes during the course of radiotherapy and dose painting within involved lesions using functional imaging such as PET may further improve clinical outcomes of lung cancer patients and potentially lead to new clinical trials. Image-guided stereotactic radiotherapy can achieve local control rates exceeding 90% through the use of focused, hypofractionated, highly biologically effective doses. These novel approaches were considered experimental just a few years ago, but accumulating evidence of their potential for significantly improving clinical outcomes is leading to their inclusion in standard treatments for lung cancer at major cancer centers. In this review article, we focus on novel image-guided radiotherapy approaches, particularly PET/CT and four-dimensional CT-based radiotherapy planning and on-board image-guided delivery, stereotactic radiotherapy, and intensity-modulated radiotherapy for mobile nonsmall cell lung cancer.

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