Long-term results of high-dose conformal radiotherapy for patients with medically inoperable T1-3N0 non-small-cell lung cancer: Is low incidence of regional failure due to incidental nodal irradiation?

Ming Chen, James A. Hayman, Randall K. Ten Haken, Daniel Tatro, Shaneli Fernando, Feng Ming Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

65 Scopus citations


Purpose: To report the results of high-dose conformal irradiation and examine incidental nodal irradiation and nodal failure in patients with inoperable early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Methods and Materials: This analysis included patients with inoperable CT-staged T1-3N0M0 NSCLC treated on our prospective dose-escalation trial. Patients were treated with radiation alone (total dose, 63-102.9 Gy in 2.1-Gy daily fractions) with a three-dimensional conformal technique without intentional nodal irradiation. Bilateral highest mediastinal and upper/lower paratracheal, prevascular and retrotracheal, sub- and para-aortic, subcarinal, paraesophageal, and ipsilateral hilar regions were delineated individually. Nodal failure and doses of incidental irradiation were studied. Results: The potential median follow-up was 104 months. For patients who completed protocol treatment, median survival was 31 months. The actuarial overall survival rate was 86%, 61%, 43%, and 21% and the cause-specific survival rate was 89%, 70%, 53%, and 35% at 1, 2, 3, and 5 years, respectively. Weight loss (p = 0.008) and radiation dose in Gy (p = 0.013) were significantly associated with overall survival. In only 22% and 13% of patients examined did ipsilateral hilar and paratracheal (and subaortic for left-sided tumor) nodal regions receive a dose of <40 Gy, respectively. Less than 10% of all other nodal regions received a dose of <40 Gy. No patients failed initially at nodal sites. Conclusions: Radiation dose is positively associated with overall survival in patients with medically inoperable T1-3N0 NSCLC, though long-term results remain poor. The nodal failure rate is low and does not seem to be due to high-dose incidental irradiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-126
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2006



  • Incidental nodal irradiation
  • Medically inoperable
  • Non-small-cell lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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