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Posted by on Nov 16, 2018 in Lung cancer | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study wanted to see how using radiotherapy on the brain impacts patients who have surgery for lung cancer. The study found that by using radiotherapy on the brain, the patients survived longer, and were less likely to have the cancer spread to their brain.

Some background

Small cell lung cancer is a type of lung cancer that responds very well to chemotherapy. It is common in small cell lung cancers for the cancer to spread to the brain. Scientists think that if the brain is treated with radiation therapy before the cancer is detected there, it might help overall survival. It is not known if this method will work.  

Methods & findings

This study consisted of 52 patients. All of these patients had small cell lung cancer. They all had operations to remove tumors. Of these 52 patients, 19 received radiation treatment to the brain before their surgery. The remaining 33 patients did not receive the radiation therapy. The patients were followed for five years after surgery.

Overall, it was found that receiving the precautionary radiation therapy was good. The average survival after surgery was 32.9 months in those who received the radiation treatment, compared to 20.4 months in those who did not receive treatment. After 2 years, 78% of the patients who received radiotherapy were still alive, compared to only 38% in those who did not receive radiotherapy. After 2 years, 11% of the patients who received radiotherapy had the cancer spread to the brain, compared to 47% in those who did not receive radiotherapy.  

The bottom line

The authors found that using radiotherapy on the brain before surgery for lung cancer improved survival and resulted in less chance of the cancer spreading.

The fine print

This is a very small study, and should be repeated on a larger group to confirm the findings.

What’s next?

Discuss your treatment plan with your oncologist regarding your options.

Published By :


Date :

Nov 01, 2018

Original Title :

The impact of prophylactic cranial irradiation for post-operative patients with limited stage small cell lung cancer.

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