PURPOSE: Imaging after stereotactic ablative radiation therapy (SABR) for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer can detect recurrences and second primary lung cancers; however, the optimal follow-up practice of these patients remains unclear. We sought to establish consensus recommendations for surveillance after SABR.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: International opinion leaders in thoracic radiation oncology and radiology were invited to participate (n = 31), with 11 accepting (9 radiation oncologists, 2 radiologists). Consensus-building was achieved using a 3-round Delphi process. Participants rated their agreement/disagreement with statements using a 5-point Likert scale. An a priori threshold of ≥75% agreement/disagreement was required for consensus.
RESULTS: A 100% response rate was achieved and final consensus statements were approved by all participants. The consensus statements were: (1.1) thoracic computed tomography (CT) scans should be ordered routinely in follow-up; (1.2) if there is a suspicion for local recurrence (LR), fludeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/CT scans are strongly recommended. Otherwise, there is limited evidence to guide routine use of fludeoxyglucose positron emission tomography /CT; (1.3) CT imaging is not recommended at 6 weeks, but is recommended at months 3, 6, and 12 in year 1 and then every 6 months in year 2 and annually in years 3 through 5; (1.4) after 5 years, CT imaging should continue, although no consensus was reached regarding the frequency. (2.1) Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors 1.1 criteria are not sufficient for detecting LR; (2.2) a formal scoring system, informed by validated data, should be used to classify high-risk imaging features predictive of LR; (2.3) CT findings suspicious for LR include: infiltration into adjacent structures, bulging margins, sustained growth, mass-like growth, spherical growth, craniocaudal growth, and loss of air bronchograms. (3) Salvage therapy without pathologic confirmation of recurrence is acceptable if imaging findings are highly suspicious and a biopsy is not safe/feasible or if an attempted biopsy was nondiagnostic.
CONCLUSIONS: These guidelines provide international expert consensus on areas of uncertainty in the management of early-stage non-small cell lung cancer patients after SABR.