Author(s): Jenkins P, Welsh A
PURPOSE: To systematically assess the spectrum of radiologic changes in the lung after radiation therapy for non-small-cell lung cancer.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: We reviewed the cases of 146 patients treated with radical radiotherapy at our institution. All patients had computed tomography (CT) scans performed 3 months after completion of therapy. Radiographic appearances were categorized using a standard grading system. The association of these abnormalities with pretreatment factors and clinical radiation pneumonitis (RP) was investigated.
RESULTS: New intrapulmonary abnormalities were seen in 92 patients (63%). These were ground-glass opacity in 16 (11%), patchy consolidation in 19 (13%), and diffuse consolidation in 57 (39%). Twenty-five patients (17%) developed clinical symptoms of RP. Although 80% of the patients with RP had areas of consolidation seen on the posttreatment CT scan, the majority (74%) of patients with such radiographic changes were asymptomatic. For patients with lung infiltrates, the minimum isodose encompassing the volume of radiologic abnormality was usually ≥27 Gy. Traditional dose-volume metrics, pulmonary function tests, and the coadministration of angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE-I) were all strongly correlated with the presence of radiologic injury on univariate analysis (p≤0.002). There was also an inverse correlation between prior smoking history and CT scan changes (p=0.02). On multivariate analysis, dosimetric parameters and the use of ACE-I retained significance (p=0.005).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that there is substantial interindividual variation in lung radiosensitivity. ACE-I prevented the radiologic changes seen after high-dose radiation therapy, and their role as radioprotectants warrants further investigation.Journal of Lung Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment