Front Radiat Ther Oncol. 2010:42:164-172. doi: 10.1159/000262472. Epub 2009 Nov 24.


The intrathoracic growth of the tumor causes several severe symptoms as cough, dyspnea, chest pain, hemoptysis, hoarseness, anorexia/nausea, and dysphagia. In patients with manifest or threatening symptoms radiotherapy (RT) as an effective measure should be implemented into the management concept. Palliative RT radiotherapy prefers short hypofractionated schemas (e.g. 10 x 3 Gy, 4 x 5 Gy, 2 x 8 Gy, 1 x 10 Gy). Careful radiation planning supports the precision of palliative RT and reduces significantly the complication rate. A good response and prolonged palliation effects (6-12 months) can be achieved in many cases. However, the minimum biologically equivalent dose should not be less than 35 Gy. RT produces a good outcome in all types of metastases of lung carcinoma. In emergencies like VCSS or spinal cord compression RT should be initiated immediately. The selection of the optimal therapy for locally advanced lung carcinoma with malignant airway obstruction is difficult. Both brachytherapy and percutaneous irradiation are effective, however published results including local a sum of response, functionality and life quality demonstrates more benefit by percutaneous RT. Due to different physical properties of these two methods the combination of brachytherapy and external beam irradiation may be advantageous.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brachytherapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Palliative Care
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Treatment Outcome