Patterns of locoregional failure in stage III non-small cell lung cancer treated with definitive chemoradiation therapy

Shalini Garg, Benjamin T. Gielda, Krystyna Kiel, Julius V. Turian, Mary Jo Fidler, Marta Batus, Philip Bonomi, David J. Sher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Purpose: Chemoradiation therapy (CRT) is the core treatment of locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (LA-NSCLC), but potential toxicities limit radiation therapy dose. These toxicities, plus the advent of increasingly conformal radiation therapy, have prioritized target definition and the use of involved-field radiation therapy (IFRT). Published data largely focus on regional rather than local failure patterns. We report our pattern-of-failure experience treating patients with LA-NSCLC with definitive CRT, focusing on both local and regional recurrences with detailed dosimetric analyses of failure location. Methods and materials: Patients treated between December 2004-2010 were included. Imaging scans from date of failure were fused with the RT-planning CT scan, and recurrent nodes were contoured to determine if the recurrence was in a previously irradiated region, defined as involved nodal recurrence (INR) versus elective nodal recurrence (ENR). Local failures were contoured and identified as in-field, marginal, or out-of-field based on dose received. Actuarial overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were calculated, and the cumulative incidences of local, regional, locoregional, and distant recurrence (CILR, CIRR, CILRR, CIDR) were determined with death as a competing risk. Results: One hundred five patients were included with a median survival of 21.8 months. The 3-year OS and PFS were 36% and 22%, respectively. The 3 year CILRR, CILR, CIRR, CIDR were 41%, 38%, 40%, and 58%, respectively. Thirty patients failed regionally, but only 7 patients developed an ENR with no concurrent local failure or INR, and only 1 of these patients did not develop distant metastases within 1 month of recurrence. A total of 21 patients (20%) developed an ENR with or without other areas of recurrence. Conclusions: Elective regional recurrences rarely occurred as the sole site of failure, despite the use of IFRT. Moreover, the pattern of local failure was entirely in-field. These data strongly support field design focusing on gross nodal and primary disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-348
Number of pages7
JournalPractical Radiation Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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