Phase III comparison of twice-daily split-course irradiation versus once-daily irradiation for patients with limited stage small-cell lung carcinoma

Academic Article


  • Purpose: Because small-cell lung cancer is a rapidly proliferating tumor, it was hypothesized that it may be more responsive to thoracic irradiation (TI) given twice-daily than once-daily. This hypothesis was tested in a phase III trial. Patients and Methods: Patients with limited- stage small-cell lung cancer were entered onto a phase III trial, and all patients initially received three cycles of etoposide (130 mg/m2 x 3) and cisplatin (30 mg/m2 x 3). Subsequently, patients who did not have progression to a distant site (other than brain) were randomized to twice- daily thoracic irradiation (TDTI) versus once-daily thoracic irradiation (ODTI) given concomitantly with two additional cycles of etoposide (100 mg/m2 x 3) and cisplatin (30 mg/m2 x 3). The irradiation doses were TDTI, 48 Gy in 32 fractions, with a 2.5-week break after the initial 24 Gy, and ODTI, 50.4 Gy in 28 fractions. After thoracic irradiation, the patients received a sixth cycle of etoposide/cisplatin, followed by prophylactic cranial irradiation (30 Gy/15 fractions) if they had a complete response. Results: Of 311 assessable patients enrolled in the trial, 262 underwent randomization to TDTI or ODTI. There were no differences between the two treatments with respect to local-only progression rates, overall progression rates, or overall survival. The patients who received TDTI had greater esophagitis (≥ grade 3) than those who received ODTI (12.3% v 5.3%; P=.05). Although patients received thoracic irradiation encompassing the postchemotherapy volumes, only seven of 90 local failures were out of the portal of irradiation. Conclusion: When TI is delayed until the fourth cycle of chemotherapy, TDTI does not result in improvement in local control or survival compared with ODTI.
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    Author List

  • Bonner JA; Sloan JA; Shanahan TG; Brooks BJ; Marks RS; Krook JE; Gerstner JB; Maksymiuk A; Levitt R; Mailliard JA
  • Start Page

  • 2681
  • End Page

  • 2691
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 9