Introduction: Limited stage small cell lung cancer (LS-SCLC) has a poor prognosis. Additional prognostic markers are needed for risk-stratification and treatment intensification. This study compares quantitative CT-based volumetric tumor measurements versus International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) TNM staging to predict outcomes.
Materials & methods: A cohort of 105 patients diagnosed with LS-SCLC and treated with chemoradiation (CRT) from 2000 to 2013 were analyzed retrospectively. Patients were staged by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) TNM Classification, 8th edition. Tumor volumes and diameters were extracted from radiation planning CT imaging. Univariable and multivariable models were used to analyze relationships between CT features and overall survival (OS), locoregional recurrence (LRR), in-field LRR, any progression, and distant metastasis (DM).
Results: Median follow-up was 21.3 months. Two-year outcomes were as follows: 38% LRR, 31% in-field LRR, 52% DM, 62% any progression, and 47% OS (median survival 16.5 months). On univariable analysis, UICC T-stage and N-stage were not associated with any clinical outcome. UICC overall stage was only statistically associated with in-field LRR. One imaging feature (3D maximum tumor diameter) was found to be significantly associated with LRR (HR 1.10, p = 0.003), in-field LRR (HR 1.10, p = 0.007), DM (HR 1.10, p = 0.02), any progression (HR 1.10, p = 0.008), and OS (HR 1.10, p = 0.03). On multivariable analysis, this feature remained significantly associated with all outcomes.
Conclusion: For LS-SCLC, quantitative CT-based volumetric tumor measurements were significantly associated with outcomes after CRT and may be better predictors of outcome than TNM stage.
Keywords: CT-based features; Chemoradiation; Radiation; Small cell lung cancer; Tumor diameter; Tumor volume.