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Investigation of the relationship between gross tumor volume location and pneumonitis rates using a large clinical database of non-small-cell lung cancer patients.

Int. J. Radiat. Oncol. Biol. Phys. 82 (5):1650-8
Apr 2012

Vinogradskiy Y, Tucker S, Liao Z, Martel M

Department of Radiation Physics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.


PURPOSE: Studies have suggested that function may vary throughout the lung, and that patients who have tumors located in the base of the lung are more susceptible to radiation pneumonitis. The purpose of our study was to investigate the relationship between gross tumor volume (GTV) location and pneumonitis rates using a large clinical database of 547 patients with non-small-cell lung cancer.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: The GTV centroids of all patients were mapped onto one common coordinate system, in which the boundaries of the coordinate system were defined by the extreme points of each individual patient lung. The data were qualitatively analyzed by graphing all centroids and displaying the data according to the presence of severe pneumonitis, tumor stage, and smoking status. The centroids were grouped according to superior-inferior segments, and the pneumonitis rates were analyzed. In addition, we incorporated the GTV centroid information into a Lyman-Kutcher-Burman normal tissue complication probability model and tested whether adding spatial information significantly improved the fit of the model.

RESULTS: Of the 547 patients analyzed, 111 (20.3%) experienced severe radiation pneumonitis. The pneumonitis incidence rates were 16%, 23%, and 21% for the superior, middle, and inferior thirds of the lung, respectively. Qualitatively, the GTV centroids of nonsmokers were notably absent from the superior portion of the lung. In addition, the GTV centroids of patients who had Stage III and IV clinical staging were concentrated toward the medial edge of the lung. The comparison between the GTV centroid model and the conventional dose-volume model did not yield a statistically significant difference in model fit.

CONCLUSIONS: Lower pneumonitis rates were noted for the superior portion of the lung; however the differences were not statistically significant. For our patient cohort, incorporating GTV centroid information did not lead to a statistically significant improvement in the fit of the pneumonitis model.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.