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Lancet Oncol. 2013 Jun;14(7):e270-4. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(12)70592-2.

Treatment of early-stage lung cancer detected by screening: surgery or stereotactic ablative radiotherapy?

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands.


A randomised trial of screening for lung cancer using CT showed a survival benefit with screening, but issues surrounding risks arising from screening remain. The appropriate treatment of early-stage lung cancer detected in this way is receiving increasing attention. This Review discusses treatment-related issues for such tumours and explores the merits of surgery versus stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), both of which are effective treatments but have different risks for acute toxicity. Although surgery is widely deemed to be the preferred treatment for patients who are fit, growing evidence suggests that SABR achieves similar local control rates, but without the risks associated with surgery. Choice of local treatment should also be made with consideration of the high rates of disease recurrence and second primary lung tumours in patients after curative therapy for early-stage lung cancer. Careful collaborative evaluation by pulmonologists, interventional radiologists, thoracic surgeons, and radiation oncologists should guide decision making for each patient with a screen-detected early-stage lung cancer.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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