Purpose: To investigate the rate of high-grade treatment-related pneumonitis (TRP) in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with concurrent chemotherapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).
Methods and materials: From August 2002 to August 2005, 151 NSCLC patients were treated with IMRT. We excluded patients who did not receive concurrent chemotherapy or who had early-stage cancers, a history of major lung surgery, prior chest RT, a dose <50 Gy, or IMRT combined with three-dimensional conformal RT (3D-CRT). Toxicities were graded by Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events version 3.0. Grade > or = 3 TRP for 68 eligible IMRT patients was compared with TRP among 222 similar patients treated with 3D-CRT.
Results: The median follow-up durations for the IMRT and 3D-CRT patients were 8 months (range, 0-27 months) and 9 months (range, 0-56 months), respectively. The median IMRT and 3D-CRT doses were 63 Gy. The median gross tumor volume was 194 mL (range, 21-911 mL) for IMRT, compared with 142 mL (range, 1.5-1,186 mL) for 3D-CRT (p = 0.002). Despite the IMRT group's larger gross tumor volume, the rate of Grade > or = 3 TRP at 12 months was 8% (95% confidence interval 4%-19%), compared with 32% (95% confidence interval 26%-40%) for 3D-CRT (p = 0.002).
Conclusions: In advanced NSCLC patients treated with chemoradiation, IMRT resulted in significantly lower levels of Grade > or = 3 TRP compared with 3D-CRT. Clinical, dosimetric, and patient selection factors that may have influenced rates of TRP require continuing investigation. A randomized trial comparing IMRT with 3D-CRT has been initiated.