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J Korean Soc Ther Radiol Oncol > Volume 20(4); 2002 > Article
The Journal of the Korean Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology 2002;20(4): 323-327.
Radiation Therapy Alone for Early Stage Non-small Cell Carcinoma of the Lung
Ha Chung Chun, Myung Za Lee
Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Hanyang University, College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. rthochun@hanyang.ac.kr
To evaluate the outcome of early stage non-small cell lung cancer patients who were treated with radiation therapy alone and define the optimal radiotherapeutic regimen for these patients.
A retrospective review was performed on patients with sage I or II non-small cell carcinoma of the lung that were treated at our institution between June, 1987 and May, 2000. A total of 21 patients treated definitively with radiation therapy alone were included in this study. The age of the patients ranged from 53 to 81 years with a median of 66 years. All the patients were male. The medical reasons for inoperability were lack of pulmonary reserve, cardiovascular disease, poor performance status, old age, and patient refusal in the decreasing order. Pathological evidence was not adequate to characterize the non-small cell subtype in two patients. Of the remaining 19 patients, 16 had squamous cell carcinoma and 3 had adenocarcinoma. Treatment was given with conventional fractionation, once a day, five times a week. The doses to the primary site ranged from 56 Gy to 69 Gy. No patients were lost to follow-up.
The overall survival rates for the entire group at 2, 3 and 5 years were 41, 30 and 21%, respectively. The cause specific survivals at 2, 3 and 5 years were 55, 36 and 25%, respectively. An intercurrent disease was the cause of death in two patients. The cumulative local failure rate at 5 years was 43%. Nine of the 21 patients had treatment failures after the curative radiotherapy was attempted. Local recurrences as the first site of failure were documented in 7 patients. Therefore, local failure alone represented 78% of the total failures. Those patients whose tumor sizes were less than 4 cm had a significantly better 5 year disease free survival than those with tumors greater than 4 cm (0% vs 36%). Those patients with a Karnofsky performance status less than 70 did not differ significantly with respect to actuarial survival when compared to those with a status greater than 70 (25% vs 26%, p>0.05).
Radiation therapy alone is an effective and safe treatment for early stage non-small cell lung cancer patients who are medically inoperable or refuse surgery. Also we believe that a higher radiation dose to the primary site could improve the local control rate, and ultimately the overall survival rate.
Key Words: Non-small cell lung cancer, Early stage, Radiation therapy
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