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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Mar 15;79(4):1112-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2009.12.041. Epub 2010 May 25.

High-dose-rate brachytherapy for non-small-cell lung carcinoma: a retrospective study of 226 patients.

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  • 1Centre René Gauducheau, Nantes, France.



To evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy in patients with inoperable endobronchial carcinoma.


We retrospectively reviewed the records (April 1991-May 2004) of patients with non-small-cell carcinoma, with no extrabronchial spread on computed tomography scans, who underwent HDR brachytherapy because of contraindications to surgery and external beam radiation therapy. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were compared by the log-rank test. Prognostic factors were analyzed by multivariate analysis.


226 patients (223 men, 3 women, mean age: 62.2 years (range, 40-84)) were included. Of those, 217 (97%) had squamous cell carcinoma (Tis/T1/T2/Tx: 60/153/9/4). Dose was prescribed at 1 cm from the radius (24-35 Gy in 4-6 fractions). Mean follow-up was 30.4 months (range, 9-116). Complete endoscopic response rate was 93.6% at 3 months. One hundred twenty-eight patients (56%) died of intercurrent disease (n = 45), local failure (n = 36), metastasis (n = 10), local failure and metastasis (n = 11), complications (n = 13), and other causes (n = 12). The 2-year and 5-year survival rates were, respectively, 57% and 29% (overall) (median, 28.6 months), 81% and 56% (cancer-specific), and 68% and 50% (local disease-free). Acute toxicity included pneumothorax (1.5%) and mucosal inflammation (10%). Late complications were hemoptysis (6.6% with 5% of fatalities), bronchitis (19.5%), and necrosis (3.5%). In multivariate analysis, a distal tumor location and the use of two catheters were associated with improved local disease-free survival (p = 0.003 and p = 0.007, respectively) and a distal tumor location with improved overall survival (p = 0.0001).


This large retrospective study confirms that HDR brachytherapy is an efficient and safe treatment in patients with inoperable endobronchial carcinoma.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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