Introduction: We evaluated the results of postoperative mediastinal radiotherapy (MRT) for invasive thymoma and low-dose entire hemithorax radiotherapy (EHRT) for pleural dissemination.
Methods: Sixty patients were treated with a nearly uniform policy. Generally, we administered 30 to 40 Gy MRT after surgery at 2 Gy daily fractions for Masaoka stage II tumors or suspected residual diseases, and 50 to 55 Gy MRT for stage III tumors and for highly-suspected or macroscopic residual diseases. Since 1992, we have administered EHRT in patients with pleural dissemination, with 11.2 Gy in 7 fractions or 15 to 16 Gy in 10 fractions after removal of disseminated lesions in addition to MRT. We treated 52 patients with MRT alone and 8 with EHRT and MRT. In addition, we gave EHRT to four patients who developed pleural dissemination later.
Results: For all 60 patients, the overall and cause-specific survival and local and pleural-dissemination control rates at 5 years were 79, 87, 86, and 69%, respectively. Both Masaoka stage and tumor resectability were associated with prognosis. In stage IVa patients, pleural dissemination control rate was 71% at 3 years after EHRT, whereas it was 49% in patients receiving MRT alone (p = 0.38). Grade 2 or higher radiation pneumonitis was observed in only 3 of 52 patients (5.8%) undergoing MRT initially. In 12 patients who underwent EHRT, 3 patients (25%) experienced grade 2 or 4 pneumonitis.
Conclusions: Postoperative MRT appeared to prevent local recurrence with acceptable toxicity. EHRT is generally safe and may contribute to control of pleural dissemination.