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Chest. 1999 Nov;116(5):1313-9.

Proton-beam radiotherapy for early-stage lung cancer.

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Department of Radiation Medicine, Loma Linda University Medical Center, Loma Linda, CA 92354, USA.



A prospective study was undertaken to assess the efficacy and toxicity of conformal proton-beam radiotherapy for early-stage, medically inoperable non-small cell lung cancer.


Eligible patients had clinical stage I to IIIa non-small cell lung cancer and were not candidates for surgical resection for medical reasons or because of patient refusal. Patients with adequate cardiopulmonary function received 45 Gy to the mediastinum and gross tumor volume with photons with a concurrent proton boost to the gross tumor volume of an additional 28.8 cobalt gray equivalents (CGE). Total tumor dose was 73.8 CGE given over 5 weeks. Patients with poor cardiopulmonary function received proton-beam radiotherapy to the gross tumor volume only, with 51 CGE given in 10 fractions over a 2-week period.


Thirty-seven patients were treated in the study from July 1994 to March 1998. Clinical staging of patients was as follows: stage I, 27 patients; stage II, 2 patients; and stage IIIa, 8 patients. Eighteen patients received a combination of protons and x rays, while 19 patients received proton-beam radiation only. Follow-up of evaluable patients ranged from 3 to 45 months, with a median of 14 months. Two patients in the proton and photon arm developed pneumonitis that resolved with oral steroids; otherwise, no significant toxicities were encountered. The actuarial disease-free survival at 2 years for the entire group was 63%; for stage I patients, disease-free survival at 2 years was 86%. Local disease control was 87%.


Preliminary results from this study indicate that proton-beam radiotherapy can be used safely in this group of patients. Disease-free survival and local control appear to be good and compare favorably with published reports utilizing conventional photon irradiation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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