Author(s): Bradley JD, Ieumwananonthachai N, Purdy JA, Wasserman TH, Lockett MA,
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Abstract PURPOSE: Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT) has recently become widely available with applications for patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). These techniques represent a significant advance in the delivery of radiotherapy, including improved ability to delineate target contours, choose beam angles, and determine dose distributions more accurately than were previously available. The purpose of this study is to identify prognostic factors in a population of NSCLC patients treated with definitive 3D-CRT. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between March 1991 and December 1998, 207 patients with inoperable NSCLC were treated with definitive 3D-CRT. Tumor targets were contoured in multiple sections from a treatment planning computed tomography (CT) scan. Three-dimensional treatment volumes and normal structures were reconstructed. Doses to the International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU) reference point ranged from 60 to 83.85 Gy with a median dose of 70 Gy. The median dose inhomogeneity was +/- 5\% across planning target volume. Outcome was analyzed by prognostic factors for NSCLC including pretreatment patient and tumor-related factors (age, gender, race, histology, clinical stage, tumor [T] stage, and node [N] stage), parameters from our 3D-CRT system (gross tumor volume [GTV] in cm3), irradiation dose prescribed to isocenter, volume of normal lung exceeding 20 Gy (V20), and treatment with or without chemotherapy. The median follow-up time was 24 months (range, 7.5 months to 7.5 years). RESULTS: One and two-year overall survival rates for the entire group were 59\% and 41\%, respectively. Overall survival, cause-specific survival, and local tumor control were most highly correlated with the GTV in cm3. On multivariate analysis the independent variable most predictive of survival was the GTV. Traditional staging such as T, N, and overall clinical staging were not independent prognostic factors. Patients receiving ICRU reference doses > or =70 Gy had better local control and cause-specific survivals than those treated with lower doses (p = 0.05). Increased irradiation dose did not improve overall survival. CONCLUSIONS: GTV as determined by CT and 3D-CRT planning is highly prognostic for overall and cause-specific survival and local tumor control and may be important in stratification of patients in prospective therapy trials. T, N, and overall stage were not independent prognostic factors in this population of patients treated nonsurgically. The value of dose escalation beyond 70 Gy should be tested prospectively by clinical trial.
This article was published in Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access