What is the efficacy of radiation therapy for superior vena cava syndrome (SVCS)?

Updated: Mar 26, 2018
  • Author: Todd A Nickloes, DO, FACOS; Chief Editor: Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD  more...
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Answer

During irradiation, patients improve clinically before objective signs of tumor shrinkage are evident on chest radiography. Radiation therapy palliates SVC obstruction in 70% of patients with lung carcinoma and in more than 95% of those with lymphoma.

In patients with SVCS secondary to non–small-cell carcinoma of the lung, radiotherapy is the primary treatment. The likelihood of patients benefiting from such therapy is high, but the overall prognosis of these patients is poor. [25]


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