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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Aug 1;80(5):1350-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2010.04.049. Epub 2011 Jan 20.

Toxicity and patterns of failure of adaptive/ablative proton therapy for early-stage, medically inoperable non-small cell lung cancer.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



To analyze the toxicity and patterns of failure of proton therapy given in ablative doses for medically inoperable early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


Eighteen patients with medically inoperable T1N0M0 (central location) or T2-3N0M0 (any location) NSCLC were treated with proton therapy at 87.5 Gy (relative biological effectiveness) at 2.5 Gy /fraction in this Phase I/II study. All patients underwent treatment simulation with four-dimensional CT; internal gross tumor volumes were delineated on maximal intensity projection images and modified by visual verification of the target volume in 10 breathing phases. The internal gross tumor volumes with maximal intensity projection density was used to design compensators and apertures to account for tumor motion. Therapy consisted of passively scattered protons. All patients underwent repeat four-dimensional CT simulations during treatment to assess the need for adaptive replanning.


At a median follow-up time of 16.3 months (range, 4.8-36.3 months), no patient had experienced Grade 4 or 5 toxicity. The most common adverse effect was dermatitis (Grade 2, 67%; Grade 3, 17%), followed by Grade 2 fatigue (44%), Grade 2 pneumonitis (11%), Grade 2 esophagitis (6%), and Grade 2 chest wall pain (6%). Rates of local control were 88.9%, regional lymph node failure 11.1%, and distant metastasis 27.8%. Twelve patients (67%) were still alive at the last follow-up; five had died of metastatic disease and one of preexisting cardiac disease.


Proton therapy to ablative doses is well tolerated and produces promising local control rates for medically inoperable early-stage NSCLC.

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