Tolerance of organs at risk in small-volume, hypofractionated, image-guided radiotherapy for primary and metastatic lung cancers

Rikiya Onimaru, Hiroki Shirato, Shinichi Shimizu, Kei Kitamura, Bo Xu, Shin Ichi Fukumoto, Ta Chen Chang, Katsuhisa Fujita, Masataka Oita, Kazuo Miyasaka, Masaharu Nishimura, Hirotoshi Dosaka-Akita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

234 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To determine the organ at risk and the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of radiation that could be delivered to lung cancer using small-volume, image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT) using hypofractionated, coplanar, and noncoplanar multiple fields. Methods and materials: Patients with measurable lung cancer (except small-cell lung cancer) 6 cm or less in diameter for whom surgery was not indicated were eligible for this study. Internal target volume was determined using averaged CT under normal breathing, and for patients with large respiratory motion, using two additional CT scans with breath-holding at the expiratory and inspiratory phases in the same table position. Patients were localized at the isocenter after three-dimensional treatment planning. Their setup was corrected by comparing two linacographies that were orthogonal at the isocenter with corresponding digitally reconstructed images. Megavoltage X-rays using noncoplanar multiple static ports or arcs were used to cover the parenchymal tumor mass. Prophylactic nodal irradiation was not performed. The radiation dose was started at 60 Gy in 8 fractions over 2 weeks (60 Gy/8 Fr/2 weeks) for peripheral lesions 3.0 cm or less, and at 48 Gy/8 Fr/2 weeks at the isocenter for central lesions or tumors more than 3.0 cm at their greatest dimension. Results: Fifty-seven lesions in 45 patients were treated. Tumor size ranged from 0.6 to 6.0 cm, with a median of 2.6 cm. Using the starting dose, 1 patient with a central lesion died of a radiation-induced ulcer in the esophagus after receiving 48 Gy/8 Fr at isocenter. Although the contour of esophagus received 80% or less of the prescribed dose in the planning, recontouring of esophagus in retrospective review revealed that 1 cc of esophagus might have received 42.5 Gy, with the maximum dose of 50.5 Gy. One patient with a peripheral lesion experienced Grade 2 pain at the internal chest wall or visceral pleura after receiving 54 Gy/8 Fr. No adverse respiratory reaction was noted in the symptoms or respiratory function tests. The 3-year local control rate was 80.4% ± 7.1% (a standard error) with a median follow-up period of 17 months for survivors. Because of the Grade 5 toxicity, we have halted this Phase I/II study and are planning to rearrange the protocol setting accordingly. The 3-year local control rate was 69.6 ± 10.6% for patients who received 48 Gy and 100% for patients who received 60 Gy (p = 0.0442). Conclusion: Small-volume IGRT using 60 Gy in eight fractions is highly effective for the local control of lung tumors, but MTD has not been determined in this study. The organs at risk are extrapleural organs such as the esophagus and internal chest wall/visceral pleura rather than the pulmonary parenchyma in the present protocol setting. Consideration of the uncertainty in the contouring of normal structures is critically important, as is uncertainty in setup of patients and internal organ in the high-dose hypofractionated IGRT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-135
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Adverse reaction
  • Hypofractionation
  • Image-guided radiotherapy (IGRT)
  • Lung cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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