Purpose The aim of this phase I/II study was to assess the long-term clinical benefits and toxicities of proton beam therapy for medically inoperable early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Patients and methods From June 2006 to September 2011, 35 patients with medically inoperable T1N0M0 (central or superior location, 12 patients) or T2-3N0M0 (any location, 23 patients) NSCLC were treated with 87.5 Gy at 2.5 Gy/fraction of proton therapy. Toxicities were scored according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events, version 4.0. Results The median follow-up time was 83.1 months (95% CI: 69.2–97.1 months). For all 35 patients, the 1, 3, and 5-year overall survival rates were 85.7%, 42.9%, and 28.1%, respectively. The 5-year local recurrence-free, regional recurrence-free, and distant metastasis-free survival rates were 85.0%, 89.2%, and 54.4%, respectively. Different T stages had no effect on local and regional recurrence (p = 0.499, p = 1.00). However, with the increase in T stages, the distant metastasis rate increased significantly (p = 0.006). The most common adverse effects were dermatitis (grade 2, 51.4%; grade 3, 2.9%) and radiation pneumonitis (grade 2, 11.4%; grade 3, 2.9%). Other grade 2 toxicities included esophagitis (2.9%), rib fracture (2.9%), heart toxicities (5.7%), and chest wall pain (2.9%). Conclusions According to our long-term follow-up data, proton therapy with ablative doses is well tolerated and effective in medically inoperable early-stage NSCLC. Systemic therapy should be considered to reduce the rate of distant metastasis in cases of T2 and T3 lesions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging