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J Clin Oncol. 1994 Aug;12(8):1547-52.

Role of radiotherapy in combined modality treatment of locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

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Department of Internal Medicine, National Kinki Central Hospital for Chest Diseases, Sakai, Japan.



For patients with locally advanced (stage III) non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), radiotherapy (RT) has been used conventionally for many years. Few prospective trials have determined the role of RT. Recently, chemotherapy (CT) has been shown to produce excellent responses in regionally advanced disease. We therefore conducted a randomized trial using cisplatin (P)-based CT regimens with or without thoracic irradiation.


We randomly assigned 92 patients with locally advanced NSCLC to receive one of three arms of P-based combination chemotherapy: vindesine (V) plus P, mitomycin (M) plus V plus P, or etoposide (E) plus P alternating with V plus M. After two cycles of CT, patients were reevaluated and those with stage III were again randomized to receive RT or not. RT consisted of 50 to 60 Gy in 5 to 6 weeks; 2 Gy was delivered once daily in conventional fractions.


Sixty-three patients were included in the second randomization. The patients in the CT/RT group (n = 32) and CT-alone group (n = 31) were comparable in terms of age, sex, performance status, histologic features, stage of disease, and induction CT regimen. The median durations of survival were similar for the two groups (461 days in CT/RT group and 447 days in CT-alone group). The survival rate in the CT/RT group was 58% at 1 year, 36% at 2 years, and 29% at 3 years, as compared with 66%, 9%, and 3% at 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively, in the CT-alone group. One patient in the CT/RT group died of pneumonitis, but there were no CT-related deaths.


In locally advanced NSCLC, P-based combination CT followed by chest irradiation significantly increases the number of long-term survivors as compared with CT alone. RT to bulky disease in the thorax is thus an important part of combined modality therapy, and a necessary part of further studies in locally advanced disease.

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