Outcome and prognostic factors of postoperative radiation therapy (PORT) after incomplete resection of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Juliane Rieber, Alexander Deeg, Elena Ullrich, Robert Foerster, Marc Bischof, Arne Warth, Philipp A. Schnabel, Thomas Muley, Jutta Kappes, Claus Peter Heussel, Thomas Welzel, Michael Thomas, Martin Steins, Hendrik Dienemann, Jürgen Debus, Hans Hoffmann, Stefan Rieken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: Current guidelines recommend postoperative radiation therapy (PORT) for incompletely resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, there is still a paucity of evidence for this approach. Hence, we analyzed survival in 78 patients following radiotherapy for incompletely resected NSCLC (R1) and investigated prognostic factors. Patients and methods: All 78 patients with incompletely resected NSCLC (R1) received PORT between December 2001 and September 2014. The median total dose for PORT was 60. Gy (range 44-68. Gy). The majority of patients had locally advanced tumor stages (stage IIA (2.6%), stage IIB (19.2%), stage IIIA (57.7%) and stage IIIB (20.5%)). 21 patients (25%) received postoperative chemotherapy. Results: Median follow-up after radiotherapy was 17.7 months. Three-year overall (OS), progression-free (PFS), local (LPFS) and distant progression-free survival (DPFS) rates were 34.1, 29.1, 44.9 and 51.9%, respectively. OS was significantly prolonged at lower nodal status (pN0/1) and following dose-escalated PORT with total radiation doses >54. Gy (p = 0.012, p = 0.013). Furthermore, radiation doses >54. Gy significantly improved PFS, LPFS and DPFS (p = 0.005; p = 0.050, p = 0.022). Interestingly, survival was neither significantly influenced by R1 localization nor by extent (localized vs. diffuse). Multivariate analyses revealed lower nodal status and radiation doses >54.0. Gy as the only independent prognostic factors for OS (p = 0.021, p = 0.036). Conclusion: For incompletely resected NSCLC, PORT is used for improving local tumor control. Local progression is still the major pattern of failure. Radiation doses >54 Gy seem to support improved local control and were associated with better OS in this retrospective study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalLung Cancer
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Incompletely resected NSCLC
  • Lung cancer
  • Microscopic residual disease
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
  • Postoperative radiation therapy (PORT)


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