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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Mar 1;82(3):1149-56. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.03.005. Epub 2011 Jun 2.

Curative treatment of Stage I non-small-cell lung cancer in patients with severe COPD: stereotactic radiotherapy outcomes and systematic review.

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VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands.



Patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have a high risk of lung cancer and of postsurgical complications. We studied outcomes after stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) in patients with severe COPD, as defined by Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) criteria, and performed a systematic review of the literature on outcomes after SBRT or surgery in these patients.


A single-institution cohort of 176 patients with COPD GOLD III-IV and Stage I non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with SBRT was evaluated. A systematic review identified studies reporting outcomes after SBRT or surgery for Stage I NSCLC in patients with GOLD III-IV or a predicted postoperative forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) of ≤40%.


In the single-institution cohort, median follow-up was 21 months and median overall survival (OS) was 32 months. Actuarial 3-year local control was 89%, and 1- and 3-year OS were 79% and 47%, respectively. COPD severity correlated with OS (p = 0.01). The systematic review identified four other studies (two surgical, two SBRT, n = 196 patients). SBRT studies were published more recently and included older patients than surgical studies. Mean 30-day mortality was 0% post-SBRT and 10% after surgery. Local or locoregional control was high (≥89%) after both treatments. Post-SBRT, actuarial OS was 79-95% at 1 year and 43-70% at 3 years. Postsurgical actuarial OS was 45-86% at 1 year and 31-66% at 3 years.


SBRT and surgery differ in risk of 30-day mortality in patients with severe COPD. Despite the negative selection of SBRT patients, survival at 1 and 3 years is comparable between the two treatments.

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