Purpose: To clarify whether the percentage of pulmonary volume irradiated to >20 Gy (V20) is related to the incidence and grade of radiation pneumonitis (RP) in cases of lung cancer treated with concurrent chemoradiation.
Methods and materials: The subjects comprised 71 patients with lung cancer who were treated with conventionally fractionated definitive concurrent chemoradiation. The chemotherapy agents were carboplatin or cisplatin combined with taxane for most patients. Radiotherapy was delivered at 1.8-2.0 Gy fractions once daily to a total of 48-66 Gy (median 60). We analyzed the relation between RP grade and V20. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed to assess patient- and treatment-related factors, including age, gender, smoking history, pulmonary function (forced expiratory volume in 1 s), tumor location (upper lobe vs. middle/lower lobe), chemotherapy regimen (platinum + taxane vs. other), total dose, overall radiation periods in addition to V20.
Results: With a median follow-up of 7.5 months, an RP grade of 0, 1, 2, 3, and 5 was observed in 16, 35, 17, 1, and 2 patients, respectively; the corresponding mean V20 values were 20.1%, 22.0%, 26.3%, 27.0%, and 34.5%. The 6-month cumulative incidence of RP greater than Grade 2 was 8.7%, 18.3%, 51%, and 85% in patients with a V20 of <or=20%, 21-25%, 26-30%, and >or=31%, respectively (p <0.0001). According to both univariate and multivariate analyses, V20 was the only factor associated with RP of Grade 2 or greater.
Conclusion: The incidence and grade of RP are significantly related to the V20 value. Thus, V20 appears to be a factor that can be used to predict RP after concurrent chemoradiation for lung cancer.