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Br J Cancer. 1998 Nov;78(10):1323-8.

Experience with dose escalation using CHARTWEL (continuous hyperfractionated accelerated radiotherapy weekend less) in non-small-cell lung cancer.

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Marie Curie Research Wing, Mount Vernon Hospital Northwood, Middlesex, UK.


Results from the multicentre randomized trial of CHART (continuous, hyperfractionated, accelerated radiotherapy) in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) showed a significant increase in survival (P=0.004) compared with conventional radiotherapy and a therapeutic benefit relative to late radiation-induced morbidity. However, 60% of patients died because of failure to control locoregional disease. These findings have stimulated interest in assessing the feasibility of dose escalation using a modified CHART schedule. Acute and late morbidity with a CHARTWEL (CHART WeekEnd Less) schedule of 54 Gy in 16 days was compared with that observed with 60 Gy in 18 days in patients with locally advanced NSCLC. The incidence and severity of dysphagia and of analgesia were scored using a semiquantitative clinical scale. Late radiation-induced morbidity, namely pulmonary, spinal cord and oesophageal strictures, were monitored using clinical and/or radiological criteria. Acute dysphagia and the analgesia required to control the symptoms were more severe and lasted longer in patients treated with CHARTWEL 60 Gy (P< or = 0.02). However, at 12 weeks, oesophagitis was similar to that seen with 54 Gy and did not lead to consequential damage. Early radiation pneumonitis was not increased but, after 6 months, there was a higher incidence of mild pulmonary toxicity compared with CHARTWEL 54 Gy. No cases of radiation myelitis, oesophageal strictures or of grade 2 or 3 lung morbidity have been encountered. CHARTWEL 60 Gy resulted in an enhancement of oesophagitis and grade 1 lung toxicity compared with CHARTWEL 54 Gy. These were of no clinical significance, but may be important if CHARTWEL is used with concomitant chemotherapy. These results provide a basis for further dose escalation or the introduction of concurrent chemotherapy.

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