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Outcomes of Modestly Hypofractionated Radiation for Lung Tumors: Pre- and Mid-Treatment Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography Metrics as Prognostic Factors



Many patients with lung tumors have tumors too large for stereotactic ablative radiotherapy and comorbidities precluding concurrent chemotherapy. We report the outcomes of 29 patients treated with hypofractionated radiotherapy (RT) to 60 to 66 Gy in 3-Gy fractions. We also report an exploratory analysis of the prognostic value of the pre- and mid-RT positron emission tomography-computed tomography.


Modestly hypofractionated radiation therapy (HypoRT; 60-66 Gy in 3-Gy fractions) allows patients with locally advanced thoracic tumors and poor performance status to complete treatment within a shorter period without concurrent chemotherapy. We evaluated the outcomes and imaging prognostic factors of HypoRT.

Materials and methods

We retrospectively reviewed the data from all patients with primary and metastatic intrathoracic tumors treated with HypoRT from 2006 to 2012. We analyzed the survival and toxicity outcomes, including overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), local recurrence (LR), and distant metastasis. We also evaluated the following tumor metrics in an exploratory analysis: gross tumor volume (GTV), maximum standardized uptake value (SUVMax), and metabolic tumor volume using a threshold of ≥ 50% of the SUVMax (MTV50%) or the maximum gradient of fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose uptake (MTVEdge). We assessed the association of these metrics and their changes from before to mid-RT using positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) with OS and PFS.


We identified 29 patients, all with pre-RT and 20 with mid-RT PET-CT scans. The median follow-up period was 15 months. The 2-year overall and non-small-cell lung cancer-only rate for OS, PFS, and LR, was 59% and 59%, 52% and 41%, and 27% and 32%, respectively. No grade ≥ 3 toxicities developed. The median decrease in GTV, SUVMax, and MTVEdge was 11%, 24%, and 18%, respectively. Inferior OS was associated with a larger pre-RT MTVEdge (P = .005) and pre-RT MTV50% (P = .007). Inferior PFS was associated with a larger mid-RT SUVMax (P = .003).


These findings add to the growing body of data demonstrating promising outcomes and limited toxicity with HypoRT. The pre- and mid-RT PET-CT metrics could be useful for prognostic stratification in future clinical trials.

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