Pancoast Tumor: Radiation Therapy Alone Versus Preoperative Radiation Therapy and Surgery

Authors: William M MendenhallRobert J AmdurRodney R MillionA Jay BlockDaniel G KnaufCharles R Neal
Year: 1991
Times cited: 42

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Pancoast tumor: Radiation therapy alone versus preoperative radiation therapy and surgery


This is a retrospective analysis of 73 patients with non-oat cell carcinoma of the lung presenting as a Pancoast tumor. All patients were treated with curative intent between October 1964 and September 1987 (minimum follow-up 2 years). The treatment plan consisted of preoperative radiation therapy (usually 3000 cGy in 2 weeks or 4500 cGy in 5 weeks) in 41 patients and radiation therapy alone (usually 6500-7000 cGy in 6.5-8.0 weeks) in 32 patients. In general, radiation therapy alone was reserved for poor-prognosis patients (extensive disease or medical inoperability). Although 41 patients were initially scheduled to receive preoperative radiation therapy and surgery, the surgery was not performed in 12 cases (29%) because of patient refusal (4 patients), poor response to radiation therapy (4 patients), distant metastasis (2 patients), or debilitation (2 patients). Separate calculations were carried out for the patients who completed the surgery as planned (preoperative radiation therapy and surgery) and the entire group originally scheduled for combined-modality therapy. There was no significant difference in the absolute or cause-specific survival rates between treatment groups, but severe complications were significantly more common in patients receiving combined therapy.

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