Postoperative radiotherapy after pneumonectomy: impact of modern treatment facilities

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1993 Oct 20;27(3):525-9. doi: 10.1016/0360-3016(93)90375-6.


Purpose: The present study was undertaken to see how modern treatment facilities, computed tomography (CT)-based treatment planning and linear accelerator, have modified the results of postoperative irradiation after a pneumonectomy for lung cancer.

Methods and materials: Between 1970-1985, 103 patients were treated in our department after a pneumonectomy: 50 patients with a T1T2N0 tumor and 53 patients with a T3, N1 or N2 tumor. Three groups were considered: 27 patients had only surgical resection, 51 patients were irradiated postoperatively with a Co60 source, and 25 patients were treated using those modern facilities.

Results: The 5-year survival varies from 4% to 31% according to the tumor extent but also to the radiation technique. Patients treated with a Co60 source had a dismal 5-year survival rate (8%) whereas patients treated with the modern facilities had a 5-year survival rate of 30% similar to the 31% of the control surgical group including less advanced tumors.

Conclusion: Linear accelerator and computed tomography-based treatment planning improved the accuracy of postoperative thoracic irradiation and allow to deliver high doses to the mediastinum even after a pneumonectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Lung Neoplasms / surgery
  • Pneumonectomy*
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Survival Rate
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed