What is the efficacy of radiotherapy for the treatment of unresectable stage III non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)?

Updated: Jul 15, 2021
  • Author: Winston W Tan, MD, FACP; Chief Editor: Nagla Abdel Karim, MD, PhD  more...
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In a population-based study of 10,376 elderly patients with unresectable stage III NSCLC who were not candidates for chemotherapy, treatment with radiotherapy alone (specifically, complex radiotherapy) was associated with significantly improved survival. Median overall survival was found to be 9 months in the radiation-treated group (n=6468) and 7 months in the untreated patient group. [98]

However, this was benefit was seen only in patients treated with complex radiotherapy, not in those who received intermediate complexity radiotherapy. In addition, patients treated with radiation were more likely to be hospitalized with pneumonitis or esophagitis.

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