Prophylactic cranial irradiation versus observation in radically treated stage III non–small-cell lung cancer: A randomized phase III NVALT-11/DLCRG-02 study

Dirk de Ruysscher, Anne-Marie C. Dingemans, John Praag, Jose Belderbos, Caroline Tissing-Tan, Judith Herder, Tjeerd Haitjema, Fred Ubbels, Frank Lagerwaard, Sherif Y. el Sharouni, Jos A. Stigt, Egbert Smit, Harm van Tinteren, Vincent van der Noort, Harry J. M. Groen

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Purpose The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) reduces the incidence of symptomatic brain metastases in patients with stage III non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with curative intention. Patients and Methods Patients with stage III NSCLC—staged with a contrast-enhanced brain computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging—were randomly assigned to either observation or PCI after concurrent/sequential chemoradiotherapy with or without surgery. The primary end point—development of symptomatic brain metastases at 24 months—was defined as one or a combination of key symptoms that suggest brain metastases—signs of increased intracranial pressure, headache, nausea and vomiting, cognitive or affective disturbances, seizures, and focal neurologic symptoms—and magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography demonstrating the existence of brain metastasis. Adverse effects, survival, quality of life, quality-adjusted survival, and health care costs were secondary end points. Results Between 2009 and 2015, 175 patients were randomly assigned: 87 received PCI and 88 underwent observation only. Median follow-up was 48.5 months (95% CI, 39 to 54 months). Six (7.0%) of 86 patients in the PCI group and 24 (27.2%) of 88 patients in the control group had symptomatic brain metastases (P = .001). PCI significantly increased the time to develop symptomatic brain metastases (hazard ratio, 0.23; [95% CI, 0.09 to 0.56]; P = .0012). Median time to develop brain metastases was not reached in either arm. Overall survival was not significantly different between both arms. Grade 1 and 2 memory impairment (26 of 86 v seven of 88 patients) and cognitive disturbance (16 of 86 v three of 88 patients) were significantly increased in the PCI arm. Quality of life was only decreased 3 months post-PCI and was similar to the observation arm thereafter. Conclusion PCI significantly decreased the proportion of patients who developed symptomatic brain metastases with an increase of low-grade toxicity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2366-2377
JournalJournal of clinical oncology
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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