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Oncologist. 2000;5(3):209-14.

High-dose rate brachytherapy of bronchial cancer: treatment optimization using three schemes of therapy.

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Department of Radiology, Casa Di Cura Villa Del Sole, Napoli, Italy.



Our aim is to demonstrate that a fractionated high-dose rate endobronchial brachytherapy (HDRBT) treatment is tolerable for patients with advanced (IIIA-IIIB) non-small cell lung cancer and gives an improvement of symptoms. Patients and Methods. From January 1992 to July 1997, we treated 320 patients with external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and concomitant HDRBT with Ir192. Eighty-four patients received 10 Gy in one fraction from January 1992 to March 1993 (Group A); 47 patients received two fractions of 7 Gy each from April 1993 to December 1993 (Group B), and 189 patients received three fractions of 5 Gy each from January 1994 to July 1997 (Group C).


Mean survival from diagnosis is 11.1 months and mean survival from last HDRBT is 9.7 months. The symptomatic response rate is 90% for dyspnea, 82% for cough, 94% for hemoptysis and 90% for obstructive pneumonia. Performance status was improved in 70% of patients. Follow-up is in the range of 5-36 months with 280/320 evaluable patients (87.5%) (40 patients were lost to follow-up). For the patients treated with three fractions of HDRBT plus EBRT, a smaller number of side effects occurred while relief from symptoms linked to bronchial obstruction and survival was similar for the three groups.


A three-fraction brachytherapy results in fewer side effects, such as bronchial fibrosis with or without stenosis, while survival and symptomatic relief are similar in the three groups treated.

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