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Lung Cancer. 2006 Jan;51(1):97-103. Epub 2005 Oct 4.

Stereotactic hypofractionated radiotherapy for stage I non-small cell lung cancer--mature results for medically inoperable patients.

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Department of Oncology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, SE-413 45 Gothenburg, Sweden.


Medically inoperable patients with stage I NSCLC are mainly offered conventionally fractionated radiotherapy with a limited chance of local control and some toxicity. A technique for stereotactic precision therapy for extracranial tumors using a linear accelerator and a body frame for patient immobilization was applied in an attempt to improve the local control and decrease toxicity for consecutive patients with inoperable stage I NSCLC at Sahlgrenska University hospital since 1998. A hypofractionated schedule with three fractions of 15Gy to a total of 45 Gy during 1 week was used which represents a biological equivalent dose (BED) of 112.5 Gy. Planning target volume (PTV) was a 5mm margin around the tumor in the transversal plane and 10mm in the cranial-caudal direction and the dose was prescribed in the periphery of the PTV. Forty-five patients were treated between September 98 and March 03, 25 men and 20 women, median age 74 years (58-84) and median Karnofsky 80 (100-60). TNM: 18 T1N0, 27 T2N0.


18 squamous cell carcinoma, 15 adenocarcinoma, 3 NSCLC and histology was missing in nine patients. The majority, 51%, did not experience any toxicity at all, four had esophagitis grade I, nine had skin reactions, four had transient chest pain and four had infections. Late toxicity was two rib fractures and three patients with atelectasias. After a median follow-up of 43 months had nine patients developed local recurrence or never achieved local control, two had regional recurrence and nine distant metastases. The 1-, 2-, 3- and 5-year overall survival was 80, 71, 55 and 30%, respectively, with a median survival of 39 months. No prognostic factor for survival could be identified among histology, tumor stage and size, gender and age. We think this hypofractionated stereotactic radiotherapy shows encouraging survival and a relatively low toxicity in this elderly population with substantial comorbidity. A multicenter randomized trial comparing this treatment with conventional fractionated radiotherapy is under way.

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