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J Clin Oncol. 1990 Sep;8(9):1543-55.

A randomized phase I/II trial of hyperfractionated radiation therapy with total doses of 60.0 Gy to 79.2 Gy: possible survival benefit with greater than or equal to 69.6 Gy in favorable patients with Radiation Therapy Oncology Group stage III non-small-cell lung carcinoma: report of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group 83-11.

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  • 1University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030.


A phase Ilate/II trial of hyperfractionated (HFX) radiation therapy for non-small-cell carcinoma of the lung (NSCCL) was conducted by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) between 1983 and 1987. Fractions of 1.2 Gy were administered twice daily with greater than or equal to 4 hours between fractions. Patients were randomized to receive minimum total doses of 60.0, 64.8, and 69.6 Gy. After acceptable risks of acute and late effects were found, 74.4 Gy and 79.2 Gy arms were added, and the lowest total dose arms were closed. No significant differences in the risks of acute or late effects in normal tissues were found among the 848 patients analyzed in the five arms; risks of severe or life-threatening pneumonitis were 2.6% for 60.0 to 64.8 Gy, 5.7% for 69.6 to 74.4 Gy, and 8.1% for 79.2 Gy. Among 350 patients who had the same criteria as Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) protocol 84-33 (American Joint Committee on Cancer Staging [AJCCS], 1984, stage III; Karnofsky performance status [KPS] 70 to 100; less than 6% weight loss), there was a dose response for survival: survival with 69.6 Gy (median, 13.0 months; 2 years, 29%) was significantly (P = .02) better than the lower total doses. There were no differences in survival among the three highest total-dose arms. Comparisons with results in similar patients treated with 60 Gy in 30 fractions of 2.0 Gy 5 days per week for 6 weeks suggest benefit from HFX radiation therapy with 69.6 Gy. Improvement in survival with HFX radiation therapy at 69.6 Gy total dose without increase in normal tissue effects, justifies phase III comparison with standard fractionation alone and combined with systemic chemotherapy in this common presentation of NSCCL.

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