Intervention Review

Palliative endobronchial brachytherapy for non-small cell lung cancer

  1. Ludovic Reveiz1,*,
  2. José-Ramón Rueda2,
  3. Andrés Felipe Cardona3

Editorial Group: Cochrane Lung Cancer Group

Published Online: 12 DEC 2012

Assessed as up-to-date: 2 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004284.pub3


How to Cite

Reveiz L, Rueda JR, Cardona AF. Palliative endobronchial brachytherapy for non-small cell lung cancer. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD004284. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004284.pub3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Health Systems Based on Primary Health Care (HSS), Pan American Health Organization, Research Promotion and Development Team, Washington DC, USA

  2. 2

    University of the Basque Country, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health. GIU 10/24., Leioa, Bizkaia, Spain

  3. 3

    Institute of Oncology, Fundación Santa Fe de Bogotá, Clinical and Translational Oncology Group, Bogotá, Cundinamarca, Colombia

*Ludovic Reveiz, Research Promotion and Development Team, Health Systems Based on Primary Health Care (HSS), Pan American Health Organization, 525, 23rd St, NW, Washington DC, 20037-2895, USA. mmreveiz@hotmail.com. lreveiz@yahoo.com.

Publication History

  1. Publication Status: New search for studies and content updated (no change to conclusions)
  2. Published Online: 12 DEC 2012

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Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary

Background

This is an updated version of the original review published in Issue 2, 2008 of The Cochrane Library. Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) constitute about 80% of all lung cancer cases. Although surgery is the only curative treatment of NSCLC, fewer than 20% of tumors can be radically resected. Radiotherapy is one of the main treatment modalities in lung cancer, contributing to both its cure and palliation. Endobronchial brachytherapy (EBB) has been used as one approach to improve local control either alone or in combination with other treatments.

Objectives

To assess the effectiveness of palliative EBB compared with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) or other alternative endoluminal treatments in controlling thoracic symptoms and increasing survival in patients with advanced NSCLC.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL,The Cochrane Library, Issue 1 2012), MEDLINE (OvidSP) (1966 to January 2012), EMBASE (Ovid) (1974 to January 2012) and other databases as well as reference lists, and we handsearched selected journals and conference proceedings.

Selection criteria

Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing different regimens of palliative EBB with EBRT or other endobronchial interventions in patients with advanced NSCLC.

Data collection and analysis

Two review authors independently extracted data and conducted risk of bias assessment.

Main results

We included fourteen RCTs involving 953 participants. We included a new study assessing a variety of different fractionation schedules of high dose rate palliative EBB in this update. There were important differences in the doses of radiotherapy investigated, in the patient characteristics and in the outcomes measured. We found trials comparing EBB to EBRT alone, EBB plus EBRT to EBRT alone, EBB plus chemotherapy to EBB alone, EBB to neodymium: yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd-YAG) laser and comparisons between various fractionation schedules of high dose rate EBB. From the heterogeneous information obtained from several small RCTs, we concluded that EBRT alone is more effective for palliation of NSCLC symptoms than EBB alone. Our findings did not provide conclusive evidence to recommend EBB plus EBRT to relieve symptoms compared to EBRT alone. Overall, for the primary endpoint of survival there was no evidence of benefit for EBB compared to EBRT and Nd-YAG laser or for the combination of EBB with chemotherapy. Additionally, findings from one trial suggested that twice 7.4 Gy was superior to the four times per week 3.8 Gy schedule for mean time of local control and fatal hemoptysis. No significant differences were found for fatal hemoptysis as an adverse event of EBB.

Authors' conclusions

The evidence did not provide conclusive results that EBB plus EBRT improved symptom relief over EBRT alone. We were not able to provide conclusive evidence to recommend EBB with EBRT, EBB in preference to EBRT, chemotherapy or Nd-YAG laser. From heterogeneous information obtained from several small RCTs, we conclude that EBRT alone is more effective for palliation than EBB alone. For patients previously treated by EBRT who are symptomatic from recurrent endobronchial central obstruction, EBB may be considered in selected cases.

 

Plain language summary

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Plain language summary

Endobronchial brachytherapy as palliative care for people with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer

This is an updated version of the original review published in Issue 2, 2008 of The Cochrane Library. Patients with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) have a poor prognosis and the treatment options are limited to controlling their symptoms and maintaining their quality of life. Palliative endobronchial brachytherapy (EBB) is sometimes used to improve local control of the tumor, and the patient's symptoms and quality of life. Endobronchial brachytherapy is a procedure that involves placing radioactive material inside the patient's airways as an 'internal radiotherapy'.

We were not able to provide conclusive evidence from randomized controlled trials to support the use of EBB in combination with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), chemotherapy or neodymium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd-YAG) laser.

From heterogeneous information obtained from several small RCTs, we conclude that EBRT alone is more effective for palliation than EBB alone. If patients who previously were treated with EBRT develop symptoms from the tumour growing again in the main airways, EBB may in some cases be an appropriate treatment to consider.