Purpose: To evaluate the patterns of recurrence when selective mediastinal node irradiation based on FDG-PET scan data is used in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods and materials: A prospective Phase I/II study was undertaken on 44 patients with NSCLC without detectable distant metastases on CT and FDG-PET scan, delivering either 61.2 Gy in 34 fractions over 23 days or 64.8 Gy in 36 fractions over 24 days (1.8 Gy b.i.d. with 8-h interval). Only the primary tumor and the positive mediastinal areas on the pretreatment FDG-PET scan were irradiated. Isolated nodal failure was defined as recurrence in the regional nodes outside of the clinical target volume, in the absence of in-field failure.
Results: The CT and FDG-PET stage distribution was as follows: Stage I: 8 patients (18%) and 13 patients (29%); Stage II: 6 patients (14%) and 10 patients (23%); Stage IIIA: 15 patients (34%) and 7 patients (16%); Stage IIIB: 15 patients (34%) and 14 patients (32%), respectively. After a median follow-up time of 16 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 11-21 months) postradiotherapy, 11 patients (25%) developed a local recurrence. Only 1 patient (crude rate, 2.3%; upper bound of 95% CI, 10.3%), with a Stage II tumor on both CT and PET, developed an isolated nodal failure. The median actuarial overall survival was 21 months (95% CI, 14-28 months), and the median actuarial progression-free survival was 18 months (95% CI, 12-24 months).
Conclusions: Selective mediastinal node irradiation based on FDG-PET scan data in patients with NSCLC results in low isolated nodal failure rates. In the Phase I component of this trial, radiation dose escalation up to 64.8 Gy in 36 fractions over 24 days is feasible.