Can elective nodal irradiation be omitted in stage III non-small-cell lung cancer? Analysis of recurrences in a phase II study of induction chemotherapy and involved-field radiotherapy

Suresh Senan, Sjaak Burgers, Michael J. Samson, Rob J. Van Klaveren, Swie Swat Oei, John Van Sörnsen de Koste, Peter W.J. Voet, Frank J. Lagerwaard, Jan Maarten van Haarst, Joachim G.J.V. Aerts, Jan P. Van Meerbeeck

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Purpose: To establish the recurrence patterns when elective mediastinal irradiation was omitted, patients with Stage III non-small-cell lung cancer were treated with sequential chemotherapy (CHT) and involved-field radiotherapy (RT). Methods and Materials: Fifty patients were treated with either two or four cycles of induction CHT, followed by once-daily involved-field RT to 70 Gy, delivered using three-dimensional treatment planning. The contoured gross tumor volume consisted of the pre-CHT tumor volume and nodes with a short-axis diameter of ≥1 cm. Patients were reevaluated at 3 and 6 months after RT using bronchoscopy and chest CT. Elective nodal failure was defined as recurrence in the regional nodes outside the clinical target volume, in the absence of in-field failure. Results: Of 43 patients who received doses ≥50 Gy, 35% were disease free at last follow-up; in-field recurrences developed in 27% (of whom 16% had exclusively in-field recurrences); 18% had distant metastases exclusively. No elective nodal failure was observed. The median actuarial overall survival was 18 months (95% confidence interval 14-22) and the median progression-free survival was 12 months (95% confidence interval 6-18). Conclusion: Omitting elective mediastinal irradiation did not result in isolated nodal failure. Future studies of concurrent CHT and RT for Stage III non-small-cell lung cancer should use involved-field RT to limit toxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1006
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2002


  • Chemotherapy
  • Involved fields
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer
  • Radiotherapy
  • Regional recurrence
  • Stage III

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