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Cancer. 2002 Oct 1;95(7):1546-53.

Small-volume image-guided radiotherapy using hypofractionated, coplanar, and noncoplanar multiple fields for patients with inoperable Stage I nonsmall cell lung carcinomas.

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First Department of Medicine, Hokkaido University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.



Occasionally, medically compromised and/or elderly patients with nonsmall cell lung carcinomas (NSCLCs) cannot be treated surgically. We investigated small-volume hypofractionated image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) without the need for breath control in patients with inoperable Stage I NSCLCs.


Between September 1996 and September 1999, 22 patients with Stage I NSCLCs, including 19 males and 3 females, were treated with IGRT. Among these patients, there were 13 Stage IA and 9 Stage IB tumors. The tumors ranged in size from 14.2 to 58.5 mm, with a median size of 26.7 mm. Of the 22 patients, 19 were unfit for surgical treatment due to poor pulmonary function, complications, and/or advanced age and 3 refused surgery. Computed tomographic scans (CT) of the primary tumor were taken during three respiratory phases and they were analyzed to determine the planning target volume, which included only the primary tumor with allowances for respiratory movement. The radiation doses administered at the edge of the moving tumor during normal breathing were 80% of the prescribed dose, either 48 or 60 Gy given in eight fractions over 2 weeks. Clinical evaluation, chest CT scan, and pulmonary function tests were performed before irradiation and at regular intervals for the post-IGRT follow-up. The median follow-up period was 24 months (range, 2-44 months; mean, 21.8 months) (at least 24 months for survivors).


Of 17 tumors assessed at the initial follow-up 2-6 months after treatment (5 complete responses, 11 partial responses, and 1 progressive disease), 16 (94%) were controlled locally. One local recurrence was observed during the follow-up. The lung carcinoma-specific survival rate at 1 year was 94% and the 1-year actuarial recurrence-free survival rate was 71%. The lung carcinoma-specific survival rate at 2 years was 73% and the 2-year actuarial recurrence-free survival rate was 67%. The treatment was well tolerated and no major side effects were observed. Localized radiation pneumonitis was observed in all patients who were examined by CT scan, but the patients were asymptomatic. Parameters of pulmonary function, including vital capacity, total lung capacity, and diffusion capacity for carbon monoxide, decreased very little or not at all, indicating that IGRT rarely deteriorated pulmonary functions.


Small-volume hypofractionated IGRT without breath control is a feasible and beneficial method for the curative treatment of patients with Stage I NSCLCs. It has the potential of a high local tumor control rate and low morbidity.

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