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J Clin Oncol. 1985 Dec;3(12):1659-67.

Neurologic, neuropsychologic, and computed cranial tomography scan abnormalities in 2- to 10-year survivors of small-cell lung cancer.


In order to evaluate the relationship between neurologic function and cranial irradiation, 20 patients treated on National Cancer Institute (NCI) small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) trials who were alive and free of cancer 2.4 to 10.6 years (median, 6.2) from the start of therapy were studied. All were tested with a neurologic history and examination, mental status examination, neuropsychologic testing, and review of serial computed cranial tomography (CCT) scans. Fifteen patients had been treated with prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI), two patients with therapeutic cranial irradiation, and three received no cranial irradiation. All patients but one were ambulatory and none were institutionalized. Fifteen patients (75%) had neurologic complaints, 13 (65%) had abnormal neurologic examinations, 12 (60%) had abnormal mental status examinations, 13 (65%) had abnormal neuropsychologic testing, and 15 (75%) had abnormal CCT scans. Compared with those given low-dose maintenance chemotherapy during PCI using 200 to 300 rad per fraction, patients who were given high-dose induction chemotherapy during the time of cranial irradiation or large radiotherapy fractions (400 rad) were more likely to have abnormal mental status examinations (6/6 v 4/9) and abnormal neuropsychologic tests (6/6 v 4/9), but no major difference in CCT findings was present. CCT scans in the majority of cases (11/18) showed progressive ventricular dilatation or cerebral atrophy up to 8 years after stopping therapy. We conclude neurologic abnormalities are common in long-term survivors of SCLC, and may be more prominent in patients given high-dose chemotherapy during cranial irradiation or treated with large radiotherapy fractions. The CCT scan abnormalities are common and progressive years after prophylactic cranial irradiation and chemotherapy are stopped.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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