Purpose: To analyze the patterns of failure, the toxicity profile, and the factors influencing efficacy of stereotactic body radiation (SBRT) for early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Methods and materials: A search was based on PubMed electronic databases. All searches were conducted in May, 2009.
Results: The local control ranged from 80% to 100% in most studies with adequate isocentric or peripheral biologically effective dose (BED). Recurrences were associated with increased tumor size. The main pattern of failure after SBRT was distant metastasis. Grades 3-5 toxicity occurred mostly in centrally located tumors, and adjuvant chemotherapy may further decrease all recurrences; possibly translating to a survival benefit in large or centrally located tumors where high BED cannot be safely reached.
Conclusion: SBRT is an excellent treatment option for early-stage, and mostly medically inoperable, NSCLC. BED at both the isocenter and the tumor periphery is very important for optimal tumor control; higher doses are required for large (T2) lesions; SBRT for centrally located tumors can be feasible with a much less aggressive dose regimen than 60-66Gy/3 fractions and adjacent critical structures excluded from the target volume; chemotherapy may optimize the clinical outcome in large or centrally located lesions.
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