According to a new study published in The Lancet, patients with advanced small cell lung cancer (SCLC) experienced prolonged survival and reduced recurrence of the disease after being treated prophylactic cranial radiotherapy plus thoracic radiotherapy compared with those treated with prophylactic cranial radiotherapy alone.
In the phase 3 clinical study, researchers enrolled 498 adults with advanced SCLC who had already responded to first-line chemotherapy from 42 hospitals in Europe. Patients were randomized to receive either prophylactic cranial radiotherapy plus chest radiotherapy or prophylactic cranial radiotherapy alone. Radiation was administered over 2 weeks and patients were followed for an average of 2 years.
The researchers found that patients survival rates were similar between both groups after 1 year, but they found that after 2 years, 13% of patients treated with combination radiotherapy were alive, while only 3% of those treated with prophylactic cranial radiotherapy were alive. In addition, 20% those who received combination radiotherapy experienced recurrence in the thoracic region compared with 46% of the cranial radiotherapy group.
The authors suggest that chest radiation therapy should be considered as a treatment approach in patients with extensive small cell lung cancer who have responded to first-line chemotherapy.
For patients with advanced small cell lung cancer, thoracic radiotherapy alongside standard treatment may boost long-term survival and reduce the likelihood of cancer recurrence in the chest, according to researchers.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) accounts for around 10-15% of all lung cancer cases. It is almost always caused by smoking and tends to spread rapidly to other parts of the body, meaning it is often diagnosed in its advanced stages.