Radiation therapy, when given in conjunction with a newly formulated chemotherapy regimen, improves survival rates up to 12 months for patients with inoperable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a recent study.
Patients with unresectable lung cancer are often faced with a poor prognosis and the likelihood of surviving less than 2 years. Prior research has shown that radiotherapy not only has a direct cytolytic effect on tumor tissue, but also elicits systemic immunological events that may result in the regression of distant metastases. However, further research is needed to evaluate the survival effects of radiotherapy in patients with inoperable NSCLC.
Pierpaolo Correale, MD, PhD, director of the oncology unit, Metropolitan Hospital (Italy), and colleagues conducted a study to assess the effects of radiotherapy in patients previously treated with a novel chemotherapy formulation consisting of fractionated cisplatin, oral etoposide, and bevacizumab (mPEBev). The retrospective analysis included 69 patients, 45 of whom were given further palliative radiotherapy treatments to one or more metastatic sites.
The study was published in Oncotarget (online August 24, 2017; doi:10.18632/oncotarget.20411).
Results of the study showed that patients given further radiotherapy benefited from a survival increase of an average 10 months, with the longest survival of over 2 years (chemotherapy alone vs chemotherapy plus radiotherapy, 12.1 vs 22.12 months, respectively; P = .015).
“We found that radiotherapy, together with its direct cytolytic effect on tumor tissue, also elicits systemic immunological events, similarly to cancer vaccines,” said Luigi Pirtoli MD, radiation oncology, University of Siena (Italy), and co-author of the study, in a press release (August 25, 2017).
The findings provide the rationale for further prospective clinical studies to evaluate this chemotherapy plus radiotherapy approach for treating inoperable NSCLC, authors wrote.