Background: Although prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI) in limited-stage (LS) small cell lung cancer (SCLC) patients who are surgically resected and treated with adjuvant chemotherapy is considered to be a reasonable treatment option, the efficacy of PCI for those patients remains unclear.
Methods: The records of 28 patients with SCLC undergoing curative surgery at the Aichi Cancer Center Hospital between 1995 and March 2008 were retrospectively reviewed to assess patterns of relapse and overall survival.
Results: The patients were 27 men and 1 woman. Eight patients underwent induction chemotherapy. Fourteen patients (50%) had pathologic stage (p-stage) I disease, 7 patients (25%) had p-stage II, and 7 patients (25%) had p-stage III. Nineteen patients underwent adjuvant chemotherapy and one patient received adjuvant chemoradiotherapy. There were a total of 13 deaths and 8 were disease-related. Most patients developed hematogenous distant metastases before their death. The 5-year overall probability of survival was 47%. Ten (36%) of the 28 patients had a relapse. Two had a local relapse alone, one patient had combined local and distant relapses, and seven patients had distant metastases alone as their first site of failure. Four patients with p-stage II/III disease developed brain metastases with a cumulative incidence at 1 and 2 years of 25 and 36%, respectively.
Conclusions: Our retrospective study suggested that PCI might have a role in surgically resected patients with p-stage II/III SCLC because of their relatively high frequency of brain metastasis.