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Radiother Oncol. 2011 Nov;101(2):240-4. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2011.06.029. Epub 2011 Jul 19.

Treatment of stage I NSCLC in elderly patients: a population-based matched-pair comparison of stereotactic radiotherapy versus surgery.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



Elderly patients with stage I NSCLC who undergo surgical resection are at high risk of treatment-related toxicity. Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) may provide an alternative treatment with a favorable toxicity profile.


A population-based registry in North-Holland was used to conduct a matched-pair analysis of overall survival (OS) after surgery versus SBRT for elderly patients (age ⩾75) who were diagnosed between 2005 and 2007. Patients were matched by age, stage, gender, and treatment year; co-morbidity data was not available. SBRT was delivered at two centers; 17 centers provided surgery.


A total of 120 patients could be matched (60 surgery, 60 SBRT). Median age was 79years, 67% were male, and 64% had T1 disease. Median follow-up was 43months. Thirty-day mortality was 8.3% after surgery and 1.7% after SBRT. OS at one- and three-years was 75% and 60% after surgery, and 87% and 42% after SBRT, respectively (log-rank p=0.22). Limiting the analysis to SBRT patients with pathological confirmation of disease and their matches revealed no significant difference between groups.


Similar OS outcomes are achieved with surgery or SBRT for stage I NSCLC in elderly patients. Comorbidity data and outcomes from centralized surgical programs are needed for more robust conclusions.

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