Purpose: The study was designed to, (a) standardize endobronchial brachytherapy and, (b) to evaluate the relief of obstructive signs and symptoms.
Methods: Patients with endobronchial carcinoma were treated on a protocol (n = 342) with remote afterloading brachytherapy. Group 1 patients were treated with medium dose rate and received 1000 cGy at 5 mm depth for three fractions (n = 47). Group 2 were treated with high dose rate, 1000 cGy to a 10 mm depth for three fractions (n = 144) and Group 3 received 750 cGy delivered to a 10 mm depth for three fractions (n = 151). Each group was divided into curative, palliative, and recurrent categories. Neodymium yttrium aluminum garnet photoresection was used in 24% of patients prior to brachytherapy.
Results: Evaluation consisted of symptom index scoring with weighted responses of hemoptysis 99%, obstructive pneumonia 99%, cough 85%, and dyspnea 86%. Obstruction improvement was 80% overall, curative 87%, palliative 84%, and recurrent 70% of mean pretreatment scores. Survival 10% alive, 88% expired, and 2% lost to follow-up. Cause of death was intrathoracic carcinoma 41%, metastatic carcinoma 38%, intercurrent disease 9%, and unknown cause 13%. Survival from diagnosis and first treatment was, respectively, for curative 10.8 and 9.5 months, palliative 14 and 5.6 months, and recurrent 25.6 and 6.2 months. Significant complications were fatal hemoptysis 7%, and radiation bronchitis and stenosis 11%.
Conclusion: Endoluminal brachytherapy provides excellent palliation of the endobronchial portion of neoplastic disease.