From conventionally fractionated radiation therapy to hyperfractionated radiation therapy alone and with concurrent chemotherapy in patients with early-stage nonsmall cell lung cancer


  • Branislav Jeremić MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Kragujevac, Serbia
    • Applied Radiation Biology and Radiotherapy Section, Division of Human Health, International Atomic Energy Agency, Wagramer Strasse 5, A-1400 Vienna, Austria
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    • Fax: (011) 43-1-26007 21668

  • Biljana Miličić MD, MSc

    1. Department of Oncology, University Hospital, Kragujevac, Serbia
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The authors' single-institution experience in patients with early-stage (I and II) nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who were treated between 1980 and 1998 with either conventionally fractionated (CF) radiation therapy (RT), or hyperfractionated (HFX) RT, or HFX RT with concurrent paclitaxel/carboplatin (HFX RT-Pac/C) was reviewed.


Seventy-eight patients received 60 grays (Gy) in 30 daily fractions (CF), 116 patients received 69.6 Gy (1.2 Gy twice daily), and 56 patients received 67.6 Gy (1.3 Gy twice daily) with concurrent, low-dose, daily C (25 mg/m2) and Pac (10 mg/m2). Biologically equivalent doses for the 3 groups were 72 Gy, 78 Gy, and 76 Gy, respectively, for acute effects (α/β = 10 Gy) and 120 Gy, 111 Gy, and 111 Gy, respectively, for late effects (α/β = 2 Gy).


For all 250 patients, the overall median survival was 27 months, the cause-specific survival was 27 months, the local progression-free survival was 32 months, and distant metastasis-free survival was not achieved; and the respective 5-year survival rates were 27%, 32%, 45%, and 68%. CF achieved significantly inferior survival than either HFX RT alone or HFX RT-Pac/C (P = .0332 and P = .0013, respectively), and no difference was observed between the 2 HFX RT regimens (P = .1934). Only acute hematologic high-grade toxicity (grade ≥3) was more frequent with HFX RT-Pac/C than with either RT alone, whereas other toxicities were similar between the 3 treatment groups.


HFX RT with or without concurrent chemotherapy may be better than CF in patients with early-stage NSCLC. The role of chemotherapy deserves further investigation, because the group that received chemotherapy in the current study had a higher incidence of acute high-grade hematologic toxicity. Cancer 2008. © 2008 American Cancer Society.