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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1988 Dec;15(6):1331-6.

Tolerance of pelvic normal tissues to hyperfractionated radiation therapy: results of Protocol 83-08 of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group.

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  • 1University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030.


A prospective, centrally randomized Phase I/II trial of hyperfractionation in definitive radiation therapy for locally advanced squamous and transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder was conducted by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) from April 1983 through June 1986. Patients with T3-4 and T2 N+ (AJC) histologically-confirmed cancer of the bladder received twice daily radiation therapy with 1.2 Gy per fraction and a minimum of 4 hr between fractions. All patients received a whole pelvic total dose of 50.4 Gy: Total doses to reduced volumes were 60.0 Gy, 64.8 Gy, or 69.6 Gy. Of 54 patients entered, 50 were eligible. An unbalanced treatment assignment was used: Nine patients received 60.0 Gy, 15 patients received 64.8 Gy and 26 received 69.6 Gy. Performance status (Karnofsky) was 90-100 in 72% of patients and 92% had transitional carcinoma. Eighty percent of tumors were T3 or T4. Observation of at least 18 months was available for 26 patients. Grade 3 acute reactions (within 90 days) were reported in eight patients (one at 60.0 Gy, three at 64.8 Gy and four at 69.6 Gy). Five patients experienced a total of seven major late effects--four Grade 3 and three Grade 4. The cumulative probability of Grade 3 and 4 late complications of treatment for the 46 patients at risk for late complications was 5% +/- 3% at 6 months, 7% +/- 4% at 12 months, and 10% +/- 5% at 18 and 24 months. The cumulative probability of Grade 3 or 4 late complications for patients who received a total dose of 69.6 Gy was 5% +/- 4% at 6 and 12 months and 11% +/- 8% at 18 and 24 months. Only one patient who experienced major late effects was also reported to have major acute reactions. Comparisons of survival of patients treated in the current study with those who received 60 Gy in 30 fractions in 6 weeks in RTOG Protocol 71-04, did not suggest any deleterious effects from hyperfractionated radiation therapy to the pelvis. The normal pelvic tissues tolerated hyperfractionated radiation therapy sufficiently well to justify exploring it, alone and with brachytherapy, in other pelvic tumors.

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