Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2006-10-20
Excessive toxicity when treating central tumors in a phase II study of stereotactic body radiation therapy for medically inoperable early-stage lung cancer.   
Surgical resection is standard therapy in stage I non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC); however, many patients are inoperable due to comorbid diseases. Building on a previously reported phase I trial, we carried out a prospective phase II trial using stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) in this population.
Eligible patients included clinically staged T1 or T2 (< or = 7 cm), N0, M0, biopsy-confirmed NSCLC. All patients had comorbid medical problems that precluded lobectomy. SBRT treatment dose was 60 to 66 Gy total in three fractions during 1 to 2 weeks.
All 70 patients enrolled completed therapy as planned and median follow-up was 17.5 months. The 3-month major response rate was 60%. Kaplan-Meier local control at 2 years was 95%. Altogether, 28 patients have died as a result of cancer (n = 5), treatment (n = 6), or comorbid illnesses (n = 17). Median overall survival was 32.6 months and 2-year overall survival was 54.7%. Grade 3 to 5 toxicity occurred in a total of 14 patients. Among patients experiencing toxicity, the median time to observation was 10.5 months. Patients treated for tumors in the peripheral lung had 2-year freedom from severe toxicity of 83% compared with only 54% for patients with central tumors.
High rates of local control are achieved with this SBRT regimen in medically inoperable patients with stage I NSCLC. Both local recurrence and toxicity occur late after this treatment. This regimen should not be used for patients with tumors near the central airways due to excessive toxicity.

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