A Medical Research Council (MRC) randomised trial of palliative radiotherapy with two fractions or a single fraction in patients with inoperable non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and poor performance status. Medical Research Council Lung Cancer Working Party.
AffiliationMRC Cancer Trials Office, 1 Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge CB2 2BB, UK.
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AbstractTwo policies of palliative thoracic radiotherapy for NSCLC have been compared in a randomised multicentre controlled trial aimed at simplifying the palliative treatment of patients with poor performance status. A total of 235 patients were entered. They had inoperable, microscopically confirmed disease, too advanced for 'curative' radiotherapy. Their main symptoms were related to the primary intrathoracic tumour even if metastases were present, and they had a poor performance status. Patients were allocated at random to regimens of either 17 Gy given in two fractions of 8.5 Gy 1 week apart (F2 regimen, 117 patients), or a single fraction of 10 Gy (F1 regimen, 118 patients). Two patients (one in each group) were excluded from all analyses because they were found to have had previously treated malignant disease and had been admitted in error. On admission, 95% of the 233 eligible patients had cough, 47% haemoptysis, 59% chest pain, 64% anorexia, and 16% dysphagia. As assessed by the clinicians, these symptoms were palliated in high proportions of patients, ranging in the F2 group from 48% for cough to 75% for haemoptysis, and in the F1 group from 55% for anorexia to 72% for haemoptysis and chest pain. For all five symptoms the median duration of palliation was 50% or more of survival. All these results were similar in the two treatment groups. In contrast, on daily assessment by the patients using a diary card, those treated with the F2 regimen experienced substantially more dysphagia, which was recorded in 56% of the patients compared with 23% in the F1 group (difference 33%: 95% confidence interval 17-48%). The median survival from randomisation was 100 days in the F2 group and 122 days in the F1 group. The F1 regimen, as it requires only a single attendance for treatment, is recommended as a palliative regimen for patients with inoperable NSCLC and a poor performance status.
CitationA Medical Research Council (MRC) randomised trial of palliative radiotherapy with two fractions or a single fraction in patients with inoperable non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and poor performance status. Medical Research Council Lung Cancer Working Party. 1992, 65 (6):934-41 Br. J. Cancer
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
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