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J Cancer Res Ther. 2006 Jul-Sep;2(3):119-25.

Optimization of dose and fractionation of endobronchial brachytherapy with or without external radiation in the palliative management of non-small cell lung cancer: a prospective randomized study.

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Department of Radiotherapy, Post-graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.



Endobronchial brachytherapy (EBBT) is an established modality for the palliation in advanced non-small cell lung cancer. We compared three different schedules using EBBT with or without external radiation (XRT) in this setting.


Forty-five patients were randomized to three treatment arms. Arm A received XRT to a dose of 30 Gy/10 fr/2 weeks and two sessions of EBBT 8 Gy each. Arm B received the same XRT and a single session of EBBT 10 Gy at 1 cm. Arm C received only a single fraction of brachytherapy to a dose of 15 Gy at 1 cm without XRT. Symptomatic response rates, duration of symptom palliation, obstruction scores, quality of life outcomes and complications were assessed and compared.


The overall symptomatic response rates were 91% for dyspnea, 84% for cough, 94% for hemoptysis and 83% for obstructive pneumonia. There was no significant difference between the arms. The median time to symptom relapse was 4-8 months for all symptoms and the median time to symptom progression was 6-11 months. The results were comparable between groups except for hemoptysis, where a shorter palliation was seen in Arm C that achieved statistical significance (P < 0.01). Quality of life showed significant improvement, with maximum benefit in Arm A. Complication rates were low. Only one patient died of fatal hemoptysis.


EBBT is thus a safe and effective palliative tool in advanced non-small cell lung cancer, either alone or in conjunction with XRT. The difference between the treatment arms were not statistically significant in most categories, but patients treated with XRT and two endobronchial sessions of 8 Gy had the most consistent benefit in terms of all the parameters studied.

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