[Prophylactic cranial irradiation in non-small cell lung cancer]

Cancer Radiother. 2007 Jan-Feb;11(1-2):84-91. doi: 10.1016/j.canrad.2006.07.021. Epub 2006 Sep 26.
[Article in French]


Prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) has become part of the standard treatment in patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC) in complete remission. Not only does it decrease the risk of brain recurrence by almost 50%, it has a significant positive effect on survival (5.4 percent increase at 3 years). As the prognosis of patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has improved with combined modality treatment, brain metastases have also become an important cause of failure (10 to 30%, approaching 50% in certain studies as in SCLC). Survival after treatment of brain metastases is poor and impact on quality of life of patients is important. As in SCLC, 4 randomised evaluating PCI in NSCLC have been carried out in the seventies and early eighties. If 3 out of 4 trials have shown a significant decrease of brain metastases, none of them demonstrated any impact on survival. Thus PCI cannot be recommended as standard treatment in NSCLC, however new trials would be needed.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Brain Neoplasms / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / secondary
  • Cranial Irradiation*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Neoadjuvant Therapy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Survival Rate