Omitting elective nodal irradiation (ENI) in limited-stage disease small cell lung cancer (LD-SCLC) is expected to result in smaller radiation fields. We report on data from a randomised phase II trial that omitted ENI in patients receiving concurrent chemo-radiotherapy for LD-SCLC. 38 patients with LD-SCLC were randomised to receive once-daily (66 Gy in 33 fractions) or twice-daily (45 Gy in 30 fractions) radiotherapy (RT). 3D-conformal RT was given concurrently with cisplatin and etoposide starting with the second cycle of a total of four cycles. The gross tumour volume was defined as primary tumour with involved lymph nodes (nodes ≥1 cm in short axis) identifiable with CT imaging. ENI was not used. Six recurrence patterns were identified: recurrence within planning target volume (PTV) only, recurrence within PTV+regional nodal recurrence and/or distant recurrence, isolated nodal recurrence outside PTV, nodal recurrence outside PTV+distant recurrence, distant metastases only and no recurrence. At median follow-up 16.9 months, 31/38 patients were evaluable and 14/31 patients had relapsed. There were no isolated nodal recurrences. Eight patients relapsed with intra-thoracic disease: 2 within PTV only, 4 within PTV and distantly and 2 with nodal recurrence outside PTV plus distant metastases. Rates of grade 3+ acute oesophagitis and pneumonitis in the 31 evaluable patients were 23 and 3% respectively. In our study of LD-SCLC, omitting ENI based on CT imaging was not associated with a high risk of isolated nodal recurrence, although further prospective studies are needed to confirm this. Routine ENI omission will be further evaluated prospectively in the ongoing phase III CONVERT trial (NCT00433563).
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