Background: The purpose of this study was to identify the risk factors associated with fatal pulmonary hemorrhage (PH) in patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), treated with chemoradiotherapy.
Methods: The medical records of 583 patients with locally advanced NSCLC, who were treated with chemoradiotherapy between July 1992 and December 2009 were reviewed. Fatal PH was defined as PH leading to death within 24 h of its onset. Tumor cavitation size was defined by the cavitation diameter/tumor diameter ratio and was classified as minimum (< 0.25), minor (≥ 0.25, but < 0.5), and major (≥ 0.5).
Results: Of the 583 patients, 2.1% suffered a fatal PH. The numbers of patients with minimum, minor, and major cavitations were 13, 11, and 14, respectively. Among the 38 patients with tumor cavitation, all 3 patients who developed fatal PH had major cavitations. On multivariate analysis, the presence of baseline major cavitation (odds ratio, 17.878), and a squamous cell histology (odds ratio, 5.491) proved to be independent significant risk factors for fatal PH. Interestingly, all patients with fatal PH and baseline major cavitation were found to have tumors with squamous cell histology, and the occurrence of fatal PH in patients having both risk factors was 33.3%.
Conclusions: Patients at high risk of fatal PH could be identified using a combination of independent risk factors.