Purpose: To present treatment outcomes of hypofractionated high-dose proton beam therapy for Stage I non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods and materials: Twenty-one patients with Stage I NSCLC (11 with Stage IA and 10 with Stage IB) underwent hypofractionated high-dose proton beam therapy. At the time of irradiation, patient age ranged from 51 to 85 years (median, 74 years). Nine patients were medically inoperable because of comorbidities, and 12 patients refused surgical resection. Histology was squamous cell carcinoma in 6 patients, adenocarcinoma in 14, and large cell carcinoma in 1. Tumor size ranged from 10 to 42 mm (median, 25 mm) in maximum diameter. Three and 18 patients received proton beam irradiation with total doses of 50 Gy and 60 Gy in 10 fractions, respectively, to primary tumor sites.
Results: Of 21 patients, 2 died of cancer and 2 died of pneumonia at a median follow-up period of 25 months. The 2-year overall and cause-specific survival rates were 74% and 86%, respectively. All but one of the irradiated tumors were controlled during the follow-up period. Five patients showed recurrences 6-29 months after treatment, including local progression and new lung lesions outside of the irradiated volume in 1 and 4 patients, respectively. The local progression-free and disease-free rates were 95% and 79% at 2 years, respectively. No therapy-related toxicity of Grade > or =3 was observed.
Conclusions: Hypofractionated high-dose proton beam therapy seems feasible and effective for Stage I NSCLC. Proton beams may contribute to enhanced efficacy and lower toxicity in the treatment of patients with Stage I NSCLC.