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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1993 Mar 15;25(4):579-87.

Remote afterloading brachytherapy for the local control of endobronchial carcinoma.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, St. Joseph's Hospital, Phoenix, AZ 85013.



The study was designed to, (a) standardize endobronchial brachytherapy and, (b) to evaluate the relief of obstructive signs and symptoms.


Patients with endobronchial carcinoma were treated on a protocol (n = 342) with remote afterloading brachytherapy. Group 1 patients were treated with medium dose rate and received 1000 cGy at 5 mm depth for three fractions (n = 47). Group 2 were treated with high dose rate, 1000 cGy to a 10 mm depth for three fractions (n = 144) and Group 3 received 750 cGy delivered to a 10 mm depth for three fractions (n = 151). Each group was divided into curative, palliative, and recurrent categories. Neodymium yttrium aluminum garnet photoresection was used in 24% of patients prior to brachytherapy.


Evaluation consisted of symptom index scoring with weighted responses of hemoptysis 99%, obstructive pneumonia 99%, cough 85%, and dyspnea 86%. Obstruction improvement was 80% overall, curative 87%, palliative 84%, and recurrent 70% of mean pretreatment scores. Survival 10% alive, 88% expired, and 2% lost to follow-up. Cause of death was intrathoracic carcinoma 41%, metastatic carcinoma 38%, intercurrent disease 9%, and unknown cause 13%. Survival from diagnosis and first treatment was, respectively, for curative 10.8 and 9.5 months, palliative 14 and 5.6 months, and recurrent 25.6 and 6.2 months. Significant complications were fatal hemoptysis 7%, and radiation bronchitis and stenosis 11%.


Endoluminal brachytherapy provides excellent palliation of the endobronchial portion of neoplastic disease.

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