The most common regimen of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for stage I nonsmall cell lung cancer in Japan is 48 grays (Gy) in 4 fractions over 4 days. Radiobiologically, however, higher doses are necessary to control larger tumors, and interfraction intervals should be >24 hours to take advantage of reoxygenation. In this study, the authors tested the following regimen: For tumors that measured <1.5 cm, 1.5 to 3.0 cm, and >3.0 cm in greatest dimension, radiation doses of 44 Gy, 48 Gy, and 52 Gy, respectively, were given in 4 fractions with interfraction intervals of ≥3 days.
Among 180 patients with histologically proven disease who entered the study, 120 were medically inoperable, and 60 were operable. The median patient age was 77 years (range, 29-92 years). SBRT was performed with 6-megavolt photons using 4 noncoplanar beams and 3 coplanar beams. Isocenter doses of 44 Gy, 48 Gy, and 52 Gy were received by 4 patients, 124 patients, and 52 patients, respectively.
The overall survival rate for all 180 patients was 69% at 3 years and 52% at 5 years. The 3-year survival rate was 74% for operable patients and 59% for medically inoperable patients (P = .080). The 3-year local control rate was 86% for tumors ≤3 cm (44/48 Gy) and 73% for tumors >3 cm (52 Gy; P = .050). Grade ≥2 radiation pneumonitis developed in 13% of patients (10% of the 44-Gy/48-Gy group and 21% of the 52-Gy group; P = .056). All other grade 2 toxicities developed in <4% of patients.
The SBRT protocol used in this study yielded reasonable local control and overall survival rates and acceptable toxicity. Dose escalation is being investigated. Cancer 2012;. © 2011 American Cancer Society.