Introduction: The use of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) in centrally located early-stage lung tumors has been associated with increased toxicity. We studied outcomes after delivery of risk-adapted SABR of central tumors.
Methods: SABR was delivered in eight fractions of 7.5 Gy to 63 such patients between 2003 and 2009. Of these, 37 patients had a tumor at a central hilar location, whereas 26 patients had tumors abutting the pericardium or mediastinal structures. Survival outcomes were compared with patients with peripheral tumors treated during the same time period using fewer fractions of SABR.
Results: Median follow-up was 35 months. Late grade III toxicity was limited to chest wall pain (n = 2) and increased dyspnoea (n = 2). No grade IV/V toxicity was observed, but grade V toxicity could not be excluded with certainty in nine patients who died of cardiopulmonary causes. Distant metastases were the predominant cause of death; cardiovascular deaths were not associated with a paracardial tumor location. No significant differences in outcomes were observed between these 63 patients and 445 other SABR patients treated for peripheral early-stage lung tumors. Three-year local control rates were 92.6% and 90.2% (p = 0.9). Three-year overall survival rates were 64.3% and 51.1% with median survival rates of 47 and 36 months, in favor of the group of patients with central tumors (p = 0.09).
Conclusions: Use of risk-adapted SABR delivered in eight fractions of 7.5 Gy did not result in excess toxicity for centrally located early-stage lung tumors, and clinical outcomes were comparable with those seen for peripheral lesions.