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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2002 Nov 15;54(4):1014-23.

Accelerated hypofractionation for early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Toronto-Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4N 3M5, Canada.



To describe the outcome of treating early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with an accelerated hypofractionated course of radiotherapy.


A policy of treating early-stage NSCLC with a dose of 48 Gy in 12 once-daily fractions without elective irradiation of radiologically uninvolved regional nodes was adopted in 1996. We describe the outcome in 33 patients with NSCLC treated with this dose-fractionation schedule.


The median patient age was 72.0 years. Most patients (75.8%) were not surgical candidates because of medical comorbidities or old age. For staging, 97.0% underwent CT of the thorax, and mediastinoscopy was performed in 6.1%. All patients had Stage T1-T2N0, except for 4 patients with positive nodes based on pathologically involved or clinically enlarged lymph nodes adjacent to the primary tumor. The overall survival rate was 80.1% at 1 year and 46.0% at 2 years. The median survival was 22.6 months. The cause-specific survival rate was 89.8% at 1 year and 54.1% at 2 years. The recurrence-free survival rate was 66.4% at 1 year and 40.0% at 2 years. Lateral radiotherapy field margins of <2 cm predicted for inferior overall survival, cause-specific survival, and recurrence-free survival on univariate and multivariate analyses (p <0.05). The most commonly reported toxicities were acute dermatitis (30.3%) and late cutaneous/subcutaneous fibrosis (24.2%).


Accelerated hypofractionation for early-stage NSCLC appears to be safe and produces promising early results. Very small radiotherapy field margins may lead to an inferior outcome. Prospective studies are needed to determine the optimal dose-fractionation schedule.

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