International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics

Published by Elsevier
Print ISSN: 0360-3016
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Prolongation of the overall treatment time in radiotherapy, especially of squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, decreases the chances of cure. This is most likely because of the proliferation of surviving clonogenic tumor cells between dose fractions. Between the 3rd and 7th week of conventional radiotherapy of head and neck cancers, on average 0.5 to 0.7 Gy are lost per day by repopulation. As this represents an average value, repopulation may be even more efficient in subgroups of faster tumors. There is little information on repopulation rates during the first 2 weeks of radiotherapy. Prolongation of the overall treatment time in radiotherapy helps to avoid severe side effects from acutely responding tissues, especially oral mucosa. This sparing effect of increasing overall treatment time is mainly caused by the regeneration of mucosal stem cells and transit cells. This repopulation is slow in the first 2 weeks and accelerates dramatically thereafter. The nature of the trigger for acceleration is not known but seems to be related to a critical threshold of acute tissue hypoplasia and the development of the inflammatory reaction of the connective tissue. It is not known whether accelerated tumor repopulation is stimulated by the same or a similar mechanism as the normal epithelium. During accelerated repopulation the oral mucosa is able to compensate a considerably higher proportion of the daily dose fraction than the tumor. These factors have to be taken into account when treatment strategies are designed to cope with the problem of accelerated repopulation.
 
Results of Phase III randomized clinical trials can be categorized into three groups: positive, null, and negative. The jargon used in discussing results of comparative studies requires clarification because misclassification can result in incorrect interpretation. A positive result indicates that the experimental therapy(ies) is(are) superior to standard therapy. A null result indicates that no statistically significant difference between therapies was found; hence, standard therapy should not be replaced. A negative result indicates that the experimental therapy had a deleterious effect compared to standard therapy. This article presents a discussion of these categories and examples of each.
 
To assess the time and regional dependence of radiation therapy (RT)-induced reductions in regional lung perfusion 0.1-12 years post-RT, as measured by single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) lung perfusion. Between 1991 and 2005, 123 evaluable patients receiving RT for tumors in/around the thorax underwent SPECT lung perfusion scans before and serially post-RT (0.1-12 years). Registration of pre- and post-RT SPECT images with the treatment planning computed tomography, and hence the three-dimensional RT dose distribution, allowed changes in regional SPECT-defined perfusion to be related to regional RT dose. Post-RT follow-up scans were evaluated at multiple time points to determine the time course of RT-induced regional perfusion changes. Population dose response curves (DRC) for all patients at different time points, different regions, and subvolumes (e.g., whole lungs, cranial/caudal, ipsilateral/contralateral) were generated by combining data from multiple patients at similar follow-up times. Each DRC was fit to a linear model, and differences statistically analyzed. In the overall groups, dose-dependent reductions in perfusion were seen at each time post-RT. The slope of the DRC increased over time up to 18 months post-RT, and plateaued thereafter. Regional differences in DRCs were only observed between the ipsilateral and contralateral lungs, and appeared due to tumor-associated changes in regional perfusion. Thoracic RT causes dose-dependent reductions in regional lung perfusion that progress up to approximately 18 months post-RT and persists thereafter. Tumor shrinkage appears to confound the observed dose-response relations. There appears to be similar dose response for healthy parts of the lungs at different locations.
 
This study used continuous "intermediate" dose rate irradiation (0.3-30 Gy/h) to compare the capacity for and repair of sublethal radiation damage in different cell lines growing in tissue culture. Two human cell lines were studied; one was derived from normal human fibroblasts (AG1522) and the other from a squamous cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix (HTB-35). Dose-response curves for clonogenic survival were determined following irradiation of plateau-phase cultures at five different dose rates: 22.6, 6.12, 3.65, 1.04, and 0.38 Gy/h. Subculture following irradiation was delayed for 8-24 h to allow for the full repair of "potentially lethal damage." A significant dose-rate effect was seen in both cell lines. For irradiation at the highest dose rate, survival at 2 Gy (SF2) and the alpha/beta ratio were similar for the two cell lines (approximately 0.7 and 8.0 Gy, respectively) but the half-time of repair of sublethal damage was estimated to be approximately five times longer in the normal human fibroblast line (154 min) than in the carcinoma (31 min) cell line. These results indicate that measuring the dose-rate effect between 0.3 and 30 Gy/h is a useful way to identify and quantify differences in sublethal damage repair between cell lines. To the extent that in vitro and in vivo repair parameters are similar, and that representative tumor biopsy specimens can be examined in this way, this approach may provide a prospective way of determining the dose rate (brachytherapy) or fractionation schedule that will optimize the therapeutic ratio.
 
This work describes a patient-specific dosimetry quality assurance (QA) program for intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) using ViewRay, the first commercial magnetic resonance imaging-guided RT device. The program consisted of: (1) a 1-dimensional multipoint ionization chamber measurement using a customized 15-cm(3) cube-shaped phantom; (2) 2-dimensional (2D) radiographic film measurement using a 30- × 30- × 20-cm(3) phantom with multiple inserted ionization chambers; (3) quasi-3D diode array (ArcCHECK) measurement with a centrally inserted ionization chamber; (4) 2D fluence verification using machine delivery log files; and (5) 3D Monte Carlo (MC) dose reconstruction with machine delivery files and phantom CT. Ionization chamber measurements agreed well with treatment planning system (TPS)-computed doses in all phantom geometries where the mean ± SD difference was 0.0% ± 1.3% (n=102; range, -3.0%-2.9%). Film measurements also showed excellent agreement with the TPS-computed 2D dose distributions where the mean passing rate using 3% relative/3 mm gamma criteria was 94.6% ± 3.4% (n=30; range, 87.4%-100%). For ArcCHECK measurements, the mean ± SD passing rate using 3% relative/3 mm gamma criteria was 98.9% ± 1.1% (n=34; range, 95.8%-100%). 2D fluence maps with a resolution of 1 × 1 mm(2) showed 100% passing rates for all plan deliveries (n=34). The MC reconstructed doses to the phantom agreed well with planned 3D doses where the mean passing rate using 3% absolute/3 mm gamma criteria was 99.0% ± 1.0% (n=18; range, 97.0%-100%), demonstrating the feasibility of evaluating the QA results in the patient geometry. We developed a dosimetry program for ViewRay's patient-specific IMRT QA. The methodology will be useful for other ViewRay users. The QA results presented here can assist the RT community to establish appropriate tolerance and action limits for ViewRay's IMRT QA. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
 
The dependence of IUdR radiosensitization on photon energy was investigated by irradiating Chinese hamster cells in vitro under aerobic conditions at a dose rate of 0.72 Gy/hr which is typical of temporary brachytherapy implants. It had been observed previously that the IUdR radiosensitization with the 60 keV photons from 241Am is about 1.5 times greater than that with 830 keV (average) photons from 226Ra. It was hypothesized that the enhanced IUdR radiosensitization for 60 keV photons was a result of a larger production of Auger electron cascades from the filling of K-shell vacancies in the iodine atoms, which have a K-shell binding energy of 33.2 keV. Since most of the photons from a 125I source have energies below 33.2 keV, it would be expected that IUdR radiosensitization with 28 keV (average) photons from 125I and 830 keV (average) photons from 226Ra would both be smaller than the radiosensitization with the 60 keV photons from 241Am. To test this hypothesis we compared IUdR radiosensitization for 226Ra, 241Am, and 125I at 0.72 Gy/hr, using Chinese hamster lung cells in vitro. The measured survival curves led to RBEs of 1.20 +/- 0.10 and 1.30 +/- 0.11 for 241Am and 125I photons relative to 226Ra; to IUdR radiosensitization factors at a 10(-5) M concentration of 1.35 +/- 0.11, 1.67 +/- 0.09, and 1.47 +/- 0.08 for 226Ra, 241Am, and 125I, respectively; and to radiosensitization factors at a 10(-4) M concentration of 1.89 +/- 0.16, 3.04 +/- 0.13, and 2.48 +/- 0.17 for 226Ra, 241Am, and 125I, respectively. These results indicate that IUdR produces significant radiosensitization with all three isotopes (226Ra, 241Am, and 125I) for continuous low dose rate irradiations at 0.72 Gy/hr. Also, we observed greater radiosensitization with 241Am photons compared to 226Ra on the higher energy side and to 125I on the lower energy side. These findings support the concept that photon-induced Auger electrons produce a significant increase in IUdR radiosensitization when photons with energies just above the K-edge of the iodine atom are employed for continuous low dose rate irradiations. These findings suggest that regimens combining IUdR infusion with temporary brachytherapy implants using low energy photons in relatively quiescent sites such as brain tumors may have clinical potential, and indicate the need for rigorous preclinical evaluation of this approach.
 
There are reports of a high sensitivity of prostate cancer to radiotherapy dose fractionation, and this has prompted several trials of hypofractionation schedules. It remains unclear whether hypofractionation will provide a significant therapeutic benefit in the treatment of prostate cancer, and whether there are different fractionation sensitivities for different stages of disease. In order to address this, multiple primary datasets have been collected for analysis. Seven datasets were assembled from institutions worldwide. A total of 5969 patients were treated using external beams with or without androgen deprivation (AD). Standard fractionation (1.8-2.0 Gy per fraction) was used for 40% of the patients, and hypofractionation (2.5-6.7 Gy per fraction) for the remainder. The overall treatment time ranged from 1 to 8 weeks. Low-risk patients comprised 23% of the total, intermediate-risk 44%, and high-risk 33%. Direct analysis of the primary data for tumor control at 5 years was undertaken, using the Phoenix criterion of biochemical relapse-free survival, in order to calculate values in the linear-quadratic equation of k (natural log of the effective target cell number), α (dose-response slope using very low doses per fraction), and the ratio α/β that characterizes dose-fractionation sensitivity. There was no significant difference between the α/β value for the three risk groups, and the value of α/β for the pooled data was 1.4 (95% CI = 0.9-2.2) Gy. Androgen deprivation improved the bNED outcome index by about 5% for all risk groups, but did not affect the α/β value. The overall α/β value was consistently low, unaffected by AD deprivation, and lower than the appropriate values for late normal-tissue morbidity. Hence the fractionation sensitivity differential (tumor/normal tissue) favors the use of hypofractionated radiotherapy schedules for all risk groups, which is also very beneficial logistically in limited-resource settings.
 
To assess the results of a multi-institutional study of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) for early oropharyngeal cancer. Patients with oropharyngeal carcinoma Stage T1-2, N0-1, M0 requiring treatment of the bilateral neck were eligible. Chemotherapy was not permitted. Prescribed planning target volumes (PTVs) doses to primary tumor and involved nodes was 66 Gy at 2.2 Gy/fraction over 6 weeks. Subclinical PTVs received simultaneously 54-60 Gy at 1.8-2.0 Gy/fraction. Participating institutions were preapproved for IMRT, and quality assurance review was performed by the Image-Guided Therapy Center. 69 patients were accrued from 14 institutions. At median follow-up for surviving patients (2.8 years), the 2-year estimated local-regional failure (LRF) rate was 9%. 2/4 patients (50%) with major underdose deviations had LRF compared with 3/49 (6%) without such deviations (p = 0.04). All cases of LRF, metastasis, or second primary cancer occurred among patients who were current/former smokers, and none among patients who never smoked. Maximal late toxicities Grade >or=2 were skin 12%, mucosa 24%, salivary 67%, esophagus 19%, osteoradionecrosis 6%. Longer follow-up revealed reduced late toxicity in all categories. Xerostomia Grade >or=2 was observed in 55% of patients at 6 months but reduced to 25% and 16% at 12 and 24 months, respectively. In contrast, salivary output did not recover over time. Moderately accelerated hypofractionatd IMRT without chemotherapy for early oropharyngeal cancer is feasible, achieving high tumor control rates and reduced salivary toxicity compared with similar patients in previous Radiation Therapy Oncology Group studies. Major target underdose deviations were associated with higher LRF rate.
 
External-beam radiation therapy combined with low-doserate permanent brachytherapy are commonly used to treat men with localized prostate cancer. This Phase II trial was performed to document late gastrointestinal or genitourinary toxicity as well as biochemical control for this treatment in a multi-institutional cooperative group setting. This report defines the long-term results of this trial. All eligible patients received external-beam radiation (45 Gy in 25 fractions) followed 2-6 weeks later by a permanent iodine 125 implant of 108 Gy. Late toxicity was defined by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group/European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer late radiation morbidity scoring scheme. Biochemical control was defined by the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) Consensus definition and the ASTRO Phoenix definition. One hundred thirty-eight patients were enrolled from 20 institutions, and 131 were eligible. Median follow-up (living patients) was 8.2 years (range, 2.7-9.3 years). The 8-year estimate of late grade >3 genitourinary and/or gastrointestinal toxicity was 15%. The most common grade >3 toxicities were urinary frequency, dysuria, and proctitis. There were two grade 4 toxicities, both bladder necrosis, and no grade 5 toxicities. In addition, 42% of patients complained of grade 3 impotence (no erections) at 8 years. The 8-year estimate of biochemical failure was 18% and 21% by the Phoenix and ASTRO consensus definitions, respectively. Biochemical control for this treatment seems durable with 8 years of follow-up and is similar to high-dose external beam radiation alone or brachytherapy alone. Late toxicity in this multi-institutional trial is higher than reports from similar cohorts of patients treated with high-dose external-beam radiation alone or permanent low-doserate brachytherapy alone, perhaps suggesting further attention to strategies that limit doses to normal structures or to unimodal radiotherapy techniques.
 
This Phase I/II trial was conducted to assess the efficacy and safety of PR-350, a novel hypoxic cell radiosensitizer, when administered with thoracic radiation therapy (RT) after induction chemotherapy (CT) for locally advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Two cycles of cisplatin (80 mg/m(2)) and paclitaxel (180 mg/m(2)), or carboplatin (AUC = 6) and paclitaxel (200 mg/m(2)) were given before RT of 60 Gy in 30 fractions. In the Phase I portion, the starting dosage of PR-350 was 10 daily administrations (2000 mg/m(2)) in combination with RT, and this number was increased in increments of 10 for successive groups to 30 doses. In total, 37 patients were enrolled. In Phase I (n = 20), PR-350 could be administered 30 times with concurrent thoracic RT. Thus, in Phase II (n = 17), PR-350 was administered 30 times. The major toxicity was radiation pneumonitis, with Grade 3 or more pneumonitis noted in 6 patients (16%) including 2 with treatment-related deaths. However, no Grade 3 or more esophageal toxicity was noted, and only Grade 1 peripheral neuropathy was noted in 9 patients (24%). For all 37 patients, the median survival time (MST) and the 2-year survival rate were 15.9 months and 24%, respectively. For 18 patients receiving 21 to 30 doses of PR-350, the MST and 2-year survival rate were 20.9 months and 33%, respectively. Thoracic RT combined with 30 daily administrations of PR-350 after induction CT was well tolerated and promising for locally advanced NSCLC.
 
Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) trial 9704 was the largest randomized trial to use adjuvant chemoradiation therapy for patients with pancreatic cancer. This report analyzes 5-year survival by serum level of tumor marker CA 19-9 of ≤90 vs >90 U/mL and compares results to the those of the CONKO-001 trial. CA 19-9 expression was analyzed as a dichotomized variable (≤90 vs >90 U/mL). Cox proportional hazard models were used to identify the impact of the CA 19-9 value on overall survival (OS). Actuarial estimates of OS were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Both univariate (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.3-4.3, P<.0001) and multivariate (HR = 3.1; 95% CI, 2.2-4.2, P<.0001) analyses demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in OS for CA 19-9 serum level of ≥90 U/mL. For patients in the gemcitabine (Gem) treatment arm with CA 19-9 <90 U/mL, median survival was 21 months. For patients with CA 19-9 ≥90 U/mL, this number dropped to 10 months. In patients with pancreatic head tumors in the Gem treatment arm with RT quality assurance per protocol and CA 19-9 of <90 U/mL, median survival and 5-year rate were 24 months and 34%. In comparison, the median survival and 5-year OS rate for patients in the Gem arm of the CONKO trial were 22 months and 21%. This analysis demonstrates that patients with postresection CA 19-9 values ≥90 U/mL had a significantly worse survival. Patients with pancreatic head tumors treated with Gem with CA 19-9 serum level of <90 U/mL and per protocol RT had favorable survival compared to that seen in the CONKO trial. CA 19-9 is a stratification factor for the current RTOG adjuvant pancreas trial (0848).
 
To determine whether a probiotic drink containing Lactobacillus casei DN-114 001 reduces the incidence of radiation-induced diarrhea in patients with gynecologic cancer. Patients who were undergoing pelvic radiotherapy (45-50 Gy, conventional fractionation) for either cervical carcinoma (radiotherapy and weekly cisplatin) or endometrial adenocarcinoma (postoperative radiotherapy) were randomly assigned to a probiotic drink or placebo, in a double-blind fashion. The probiotic drink consisted of liquid yogurt containing L. casei DN-114 001 at 10(8) CFU/g. The patients recorded the daily the number of bowel movements and scored the stool consistency using the Bristol scale. Diarrhea was graded weekly according the Common Toxicity Criteria system. The primary endpoint was to reduce the incidence of diarrhea, defined by a Common Toxicity Criteria Grade of 2 or greater or the need for loperamide. A total of 85 patients were enrolled. Grade 2 or greater diarrhea and/or the use of loperamide was observed in 24 of 41 patients in the placebo group and 30 of 44 in the probiotic group (p = 0.568). No differences were found in the median time to the presentation of the primary endpoint. Probiotic intervention had a significant effect on stool consistency (p = 0.04). The median time for patients to present with Bristol scale stools of Type 6 or greater was 14 days for patients receiving the probiotic drink vs. 10 days for those receiving placebo. Nutritional intervention with the probiotic drink containing L. casei DN-114 001 does not reduce the incidence of radiation-induced diarrhea as defined by a Common Toxicity Criteria Grade 2 or greater. However, it had a significant effect on stool consistency as measured by the Bristol scale.
 
A multi-institutional trial was conducted by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) to test the feasibility of performing a test battery consisting of five neurocognitive measures and a quality-of-life instrument in patients with brain metastases. The major eligibility requirements included histologic proof of a primary malignancy, measurable single or multiple brain metastases, Zubrod performance status of 0-1, neurologic function status of 0-2, and "certification" for administration of neurocognitive assessments. This certification process required either attendance at an RTOG neurocognitive assessment training workshop or review of an instructional video, followed by submission of an audiotape of mock/simulated test sessions for central review. The test battery included the following measures: the Mini-Mental Status Examination, Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, Verbal Fluency/Controlled Word Association Test, Ruff 2 and 7 test, Trailmaking Test, and Profile of Mood States-Short Form. The primary objective of this trial was to establish whether patients were able to complete this test battery. Compliance was defined as successful completion of a test measure. The test battery was to be administered just before, at completion of, and 1 month after whole brain radiotherapy to 37.5 Gy at 2.5 Gy/fraction once daily. Fifty-nine patients were enrolled in the trial. The patient characteristics included 32% > or =65 years; 44% with Zubrod performance status of 0; and 81% with multiple brain metastases. The overall compliance rate for administration and completion of the five neurocognitive measures and a quality-of-life instrument before treatment, at treatment completion, and 1 month after treatment was > or =95%, > or =84%, and > or =70%. The most common causes of noncompliance were patient-related factors (e.g., performance status or inability to understand test instructions) and not institutional error. Neurocognitive evaluation of patients with brain metastases in a multi-institutional and cooperative group setting is feasible using the test battery and certification process used in this study. This battery and certification process will be incorporated into future RTOG brain tumor trials.
 
To estimate the rate of acute and late Grade 3-5 genitourinary and gastrointestinal toxicity after treatment with external beam radiotherapy and permanent source brachytherapy in a multi-institutional, cooperative group setting. All patients were treated with external beam radiotherapy (45 Gy in 25 fractions), followed 2-6 weeks later by an interstitial implant using 125I to deliver an additional 108 Gy. Late genitourinary toxicity was graded according to the Common Toxicity Criteria Version 2.0, and the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group/European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer late radiation morbidity scoring system was used for all other toxicity. A total of 138 patients from 28 institutions were entered on this study. Acute toxicity information was available in 131 patients, and 127 patients were analyzable for late toxicity. Acute Grade 3 toxicity was documented in 10 of 131 patients (7.6%). No Grade 4 or 5 acute toxicity has been observed. The 18-month month estimate of late Grade 3 genitourinary and gastrointestinal toxicity was 3.3% (95% confidence interval, 0.1-6.5). No late Grade 4 or 5 toxicity has been observed. The acute and late morbidity observed in this multi-institutional, cooperative group study is consistent with previous reports from single institutions with significant prostate brachytherapy experience.
 
Pretreatment characteristics of patients
Quality assurance assessment for compliance with radiation therapy and chemotherapy guidelines
Acute radiotherapy and chemotherapy toxicity
Late radiotherapy toxicity
This phase II trial was performed to assess the feasibility, toxicity, and efficacy of dose-intense accelerated radiation therapy using weekly fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy (FSRT) boost for patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Patients with histologically confirmed GBM with postoperative enhancing tumor plus tumor cavity diameter <60 mm were enrolled. A 50-Gy dose of standard radiation therapy (RT) was given in daily 2-Gy fractions. In addition, patients received four FSRT treatments, once weekly, during Weeks 3 to 6. FSRT dosing of either 5 Gy or 7 Gy per fraction was given for a cumulative dose of 70 or 78 Gy in 29 (25 standard RT + 4 FSRT) treatments over 6 weeks. After the RT course, carmustine (BCNU) at 80 mg/m(2) was given for 3 days, every 8 weeks, for 6 cycles. A total of 76 patients were analyzed. Toxicity included: 3 Grade 4 chemotherapy, 3 acute Grade 4 radiotherapy, and 1 Grade 3 late. The median survival time was 12.5 months. No survival difference is seen when compared with the RTOG historical database. Patients with gross total resection (41%) had a median survival time of 16.6 months vs. 12.0 months for historic controls with gross total resection (p = 0.14). This first, multi-institutional FSRT boost trial for GBM was feasible and well tolerated. There is no significant survival benefit using this dose-intense RT regimen. Subset analysis revealed a trend toward improved outcome for GTR patients suggesting that patients with minimal disease burden may benefit from this form of accelerated RT.
 
To test the efficacy of sequential chemotherapy as an adjuvant to surgery and postoperative radiotherapy for patients with locally-advanced but operable squamous cell cancers of the head and neck region, a randomized clinical trial was conducted under the auspices of the Head and Neck Intergroup (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, Southwest Oncology Group, Eastern Oncology Group, Cancer and Leukemia Group B, Northern California Oncology Group, and Southeast Group). Eligible patients had completely resected tumors of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, or larynx. They were then randomized to receive either three cycles of cis-platinum and 5-FU chemotherapy followed by postoperative radiotherapy (CT/RT) or postoperative radiotherapy alone (RT). Patients were categorized as having either "low-risk" or "high-risk" treatment volumes depending on whether the surgical margin was greater than or equal to 5 mm, there was extracapsular nodal extension, and/or there was carcinoma-in-situ at the surgical margins. Radiation doses of 50-54 Gy were given to "low-risk" volumes and 60 Gy were given to "high-risk" volumes. A total of 442 analyzable patients were entered into this study with the mean-time-at-risk being 45.7 months at the time of the present analysis. The 4-year actuarial survival rate was 44% on the RT arm and 48% on the CT/RT arm (p = n.s.). Disease-free survival at 4 years was 38% on the RT arm compared to 46% on the CT/RT arm (p = n.s.). At 4 years the local/regional failure rate was 29% vs. 26% for the RT and CT/RT arms, respectively (p = n.s.). The incidence of first failure in the neck nodes was 10% on the RT arm compared to 5% on the CT/RT arm (p = 0.03 without adjusting for multiple testing) and the overall incidence of distant metastases was 23% on the RT arm compared to 15% on the CT/RT arm (p = 0.03). Treatment related toxicity is discussed in detail, but, in general, the chemotherapy was satisfactorily tolerated and did not affect the ability to deliver the subsequent radiotherapy. Implications for future clinical trials are discussed.
 
The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not for patients with squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, a surgical resection leaving positive margins followed by postoperative adjuvant therapy improves the outcome compared to a matched group of patients treated with definitive radiotherapy alone. From January 1985 through January 1990 a consortium of national cooperative groups (Radiation Therapy Oncology Group, Cancer and Leukemia Group B, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, Northern California Oncology Group, Southeast Group, and Southwest Oncology Group) conducted a phase III clinical trial testing the efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with resectable, squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. One hundred and nine patients were excluded from this study due to positive surgical margins. These patients have been followed prospectively with regards to local/regional tumor control, development of distant metastases, and survival. The postoperative treatment of these patients was not specified by the protocol but the majority of patients received postoperative radiotherapy +/- chemotherapy. These patients were compared with a matched group of patients from the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group head and neck database of patients treated with definitive radiotherapy alone using a standard fractionation schema. Matching parameters included primary tumor site, T-stage, N-stage, Karnofsky performance status, and age. Actuarial curves are presented for local/regional control and survival. At 4 years the local/regional control rate is 44% for the positive margin patients compared to 24% for the patients from the data base (p = 0.007). However, there is no significant difference between the survival curves (p = 0.76) with respective median survivals being 18.1 months vs. 17.9 months and 4-year survivals being 29% vs. 25%. While an incomplete excision followed by postoperative therapy does not seem to improve survival compared to treatment with radiotherapy alone, it appears to yield significantly better local/regional control. This would argue for its applicability in selected palliative settings. A follow-up, Phase III trial for patients with advanced tumors may be warranted to test traditional resectability criteria.
 
Patient and tumor characteristics at trial entry, and treatment details
(continued )
Kaplan-Meier plot of time to first grade 3/4 toxicity using (a) Radiation Therapy Oncology Group and (b) Late Effects of Normal Tissue (Subjective, Objective, Management) toxicity gradings.
Worst grade of on-treatment CTC toxicity
To test whether reducing radiation dose to uninvolved bladder while maintaining dose to the tumor would reduce side effects without impairing local control in the treatment of muscle-invasive bladder cancer. In this phase III multicenter trial, 219 patients were randomized to standard whole-bladder radiation therapy (sRT) or reduced high-dose volume radiation therapy (RHDVRT) that aimed to deliver full radiation dose to the tumor and 80% of maximum dose to the uninvolved bladder. Participants were also randomly assigned to receive radiation therapy alone or radiation therapy plus chemotherapy in a partial 2 × 2 factorial design. The primary endpoints for the radiation therapy volume comparison were late toxicity and time to locoregional recurrence (with a noninferiority margin of 10% at 2 years). Overall incidence of late toxicity was less than predicted, with a cumulative 2-year Radiation Therapy Oncology Group grade 3/4 toxicity rate of 13% (95% confidence interval 8%, 20%) and no statistically significant differences between groups. The difference in 2-year locoregional recurrence free rate (RHDVRT - sRT) was 6.4% (95% confidence interval -7.3%, 16.8%) under an intention to treat analysis and 2.6% (-12.8%, 14.6%) in the "per-protocol" population. In this study RHDVRT did not result in a statistically significant reduction in late side effects compared with sRT, and noninferiority of locoregional control could not be concluded formally. However, overall low rates of clinically significant toxicity combined with low rates of invasive bladder cancer relapse confirm that (chemo)radiation therapy is a valid option for the treatment of muscle-invasive bladder cancer.
 
To report the final data of a Phase I and II study (1839IL/0092) on the combination of an anti-epidermal growth factor receptor drug (gefitinib), infusional 5-fluorouracil, and preoperative radiotherapy in locally advanced, resectable rectal cancer. Patients received 45 Gy in the posterior pelvis plus a boost of 5.4 Gy on the tumor and corresponding mesorectum. Infusional 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and gefitinib (250 and 500 mg/day) were delivered during all radiotherapy course. An IORT boost of 10 Gy was allowed. The main endpoints of the study were to establish dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) and to evaluate the rate of pathologic response according to the tumor regression grade (TRG) Mandard score. A total of 41 patients were enrolled. The DLT was not reached in the 6 patients enrolled in the dose-escalation part of the study. Of the 33 patients in the Phase II, TRG 1 was recorded in 10 patients (30.3%) and TRG 2 in 7 patients (21.2 %); overall 17 of 33 patients (51.5%) had a favorable endpoint. Overall, Grade 3+ toxicity was recorded in 16 patients (41%); these included Grade 3+ gastrointestinal toxicity in 8 patients (20.5%), Grade 3+ skin toxicity in 6 (15.3%), and Grade 3+ genitourinary toxicity in 4 (10.2%). A dose reduction of gefitinib was necessary in 24 patients (61.5%). Gefitinib can be associated with 5-FU-based preoperative chemoradiation at the dose of 500 mg without any life-threatening toxicity and with a high pCR (30.3%). The relevant rate of Grade 3 gastrointestinal toxicity suggests that 250 mg would be more tolerable dose in a neaoadjuvant approach with radiotherapy and infusional 5-FU.
 
The Intergroup 0099 trial (INT 0099) for locally advanced nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) has set a standard of practice. This retrospective review documents our institutional experience with this regimen. For all NPC patients treated between January 1998 and December 2002 with the INT 0099 regimen, compliance, toxicity, weight change, and feeding tube use were recorded. Patients were grouped by therapy completion status and by feeding tube status. Of 78 consecutive patients, 75 were evaluable. Compliance with radiotherapy was excellent. Only 43% and 61% of patients received all cycles of concurrent and adjuvant chemotherapy, respectively. Patients who successfully completed therapy had a higher average baseline weight and were more likely to have had a prophylactic feeding tube. Forty of 75 patients had a feeding tube inserted and were analyzed as two groups. Patients with prophylactic insertion (n = 23) had a more gradual drop in weight, and recovered to a greater degree at 1 year (93.6% vs. 87.2%), than those with a feeding tube inserted therapeutically during treatment (n = 17). The INT 0099 regimen was generally delivered with modifications to the chemotherapy component, as in the original trial. The prophylactic insertion of a feeding tube may facilitate therapy completion and weight recovery in some patients.
 
7-Hydroxystaurosporine (UCN-01), a Chk1-specific inhibitor, showed promising in vitro and in vivo chemo- or radiosensitizing activity. However, there have been concerns about its limited therapeutic efficacy and risk of side effects. A method of enhancing the treatment efficacy of UCN-01 while not increasing its side effects on normal tissue may therefore be required to apply this drug in clinical settings. Celecoxib is a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-specific inhibitor that downregulates ataxia telangiectasia and rad3-related (ATR) protein, an upstream kinase of Chk1. In this study, we investigated whether the addition of celecoxib can potentiate the radiosensitizing effect of UCN-01. The cooperative radiosensitizing effects and the underlying molecular mechanisms of UCN-01 plus celecoxib were determined by clonogenic assay, tumor growth delay assay, flow cytometry, and Western blotting. Synergism of the three agents combined (UCN-01 plus celecoxib plus radiation) were evaluated using median drug effect analysis and drug-independent action model analysis. The combination of UCN-01 and celecoxib could induce synergistic cytotoxicity and radiosensitizing effects in in vitro and in vivo systems. The combination of both drugs also cooperatively inhibited IR-induced G(2)/M arrest, and increased the G(2) to mitotic transition. Combined treatment with UCN-01 and celecoxib can exert synergistically enhanced radiosensitizing effects via cooperative inhibition of the ionizing radiation-activated G(2) checkpoint. We propose that this combination strategy may be useful in clinical applications of UCN-01 for radiotherapy of cancer patients.
 
To investigate the effect of UCN-01 (7-hydroxystaurosporine), a potent and selective protein kinase C inhibitor, on fractionated irradiation or daily chemotherapy; cis-diamminedichloroplatinum(II) (cis-DDP) or 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in vivo. Radiosensitivity and chemosensitivity given in combination with UCN-01 were further studied in vitro to analyze these in vivo results. For in vivo studies, single-cell suspension was prepared from fourth generation FSa-II tumors and transplanted subcutaneously into the leg of 8-10-week-old C3Hf/Sed mice. Treatments were initiated when tumors reached an average diameter of 4 mm. Tumor response was studied using tumor growth and growth delay time assays. UCN-01 was given continuously for 7 days using Alzet osmotic pump (4.0 microg/microl/h or approximately 3.2 mg/kg/day). A daily gamma-ray dose of 10 Gy each was given in air for 7 days. Cis-DDP (0.7 mg/kg/day) or 5-FU (20 mg/kg/day) was given by an i.p. injection for 7 days. For in vitro studies, an established FSa-II cell line was used and cell survival was studied by colony formation assay. UCN-01 acted synergistically with fractionated irradiation, though it was slightly radioprotective in vitro and had no effect on SLD repair. The surviving fraction of the FSa-II cells treated with both UCN-01 and cis-DDP in vitro was lower than the calculated additive effect; however, the sensitizing effect of UCN-01 was not found when combined with either of the chemotherapeutic agents in vivo. Possible causes of synergism of combined UCN-01 and fractionated radiation may be that a continuous UCN-01 treatment inhibited clonogen repopulation during the course of fractionated irradiation and accumulated cells in the G2-M phase where cells are most sensitive to irradiation. UCN-01 is a promising agent that may indirectly interact with fractionated irradiation in vivo but may not with chemotherapeutic agents.
 
To accurately determine the maximal tolerated dose, feasibility, and antitumor activity of concurrent chemoradiotherapy including twice-weekly gemcitabine in patients with unresectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Eligible patients with histologically proven adenocarcinoma of the pancreas were included in this Phase I trial. Radiotherapy was delivered to a total dose of 50 Gy. Concurrent chemotherapy with twice-weekly gemcitabine was administered during the 5 weeks of radiotherapy, from an initial dose of 30 mg/m(2). The gemcitabine doses were escalated in 10-mg/m(2) increments in a three-plus-three design, until dose-limiting toxicities were observed. A total of 35 patients were included in the trial. The feasibility of chemoradiotherapy was high, because all the patients received the planned total radiation dose, and 26 patients (74%) received > or = 70% of the planned chemotherapy dose. The mean total delivered dose of gemcitabine was 417 mg/m(2) (i.e., 77% of the prescribed dose). The maximal tolerated dose of twice-weekly gemcitabine was 70 mg/m(2). Of the 35 patients, 13 had a partial response (37%) and 21 had stable disease (60%). Overall, the median survival and the 6-, 12-, and 18-month survival rates were 10.6 months and 82%, 31%, and 11%, respectively. Survival was significantly longer in patients with an initial performance status of 0 or 1 (p = .004). Our mature data have indicated that gemcitabine doses can be increased < or = 70 mg/m(2), when delivered twice-weekly with concurrent radiotherapy. This combination shows promises to achieve better recurrence-free and overall survival. These results will serve as a basis for further implementation of the multimodal treatment of locally advanced pancreatic carcinoma.
 
To prospectively assess 5-year late toxicity in patients treated by concomitant radiochemotherapy for locally advanced oropharynx carcinoma using three different toxicity scales. A total of 226 patients were entered in a Phase III multicenter, randomized trial comparing radiotherapy alone (70 Gy in 35 fractions: Arm A) with concomitant radiochemotherapy (70 Gy in 35 fractions with three cycles of a 4-day regimen containing carboplatin and 5-fluorouracil: Arm B). Five living patients, free of local or distant recurrences, could not be evaluated for late toxicity. Forty-four patients were eligible for late toxicity with a median follow-up of 5 years. Late toxicity was evaluated by the radiation oncologist using a large questionnaire containing 120 mixed items of three scales (NCI-CTC, LENT/SOMA, and RTOG). The data were then transposed on separate scales using corresponding grades. The 5-year overall survival rate was 22% in Arm B and 16% in Arm A (p = 0.05). The 5-year locoregional control rate was 48% in Arm B and 25% in Arm A (p = 0.002). The spinal cord was not affected by the concomitant adjunct of chemotherapy, and no deaths were caused by late toxicity. Using the three late toxicity scales, 100% of the patients treated with the combined modality (Arm B) developed one or more late complications vs. 94% in the radiotherapy-alone arm (Arm A). The difference was not statistically significant. The most commonly damaged organs (all Grade 1-4) were the salivary glands (100% in Arm B vs. 82% in Arm A, p <0.05), skin (78% vs. 47%, p <0.05), teeth (67% vs. 18%, p <0.05), mucosa (59% vs. 63% p = not significant), and mandible (44% vs. 12%, p <0.05). One or more Grade 3-4 complications occurred in 82% of the patients in Arm B vs. 47% in Arm A (p = 0.02) but concerned only the teeth. The correlation between the RTOG and LENT/SOMA scale and between the NCI-CTC and LENT/SOMA scale were low for Grade 1-4 toxicity (near 30%). The transposability of a patient's symptoms was significantly greater using the LENT/SOMA or RTOG/EORTC scaling systems than using the NCI-CTC system. Concomitant radiochemotherapy increased overall survival and locoregional control rates. The difference between the two treatment groups for Grade 3-4 complications was only significant for the teeth. The late toxicity assessment of a treatment may depend on the toxicity scale used. The LENT/SOMA scale seems to be the most accurate scale, but most of the score results were not concordant with those obtained with other scales. The results of this study confirm the necessity of using a common late toxicity scale in clinical trials.
 
Purpose: To assess the survival benefit of early vs late salvage hormonal therapy (HT), we performed a secondary analysis on patients who developed recurrence from Irish Clinical Oncology Research Group 97-01, a randomized trial comparing 4 vs 8 months neoadjuvant HT plus radiation therapy (RT) in intermediate- and high-risk prostate adenocarcinoma. Methods and materials: A total of 102 patients from the trial who recurred were analyzed at a median follow-up of 8.5 years. The patients were divided into 3 groups based on the timing of salvage HT: 57 patients had prostate-specific antigen (PSA)≤10 ng/mL and absent distant metastases (group 1, early), 21 patients had PSA>10 ng/mL and absent distant metastases (group 2, late), and 24 patients had distant metastases (group 3, late). The endpoint analyzed was overall survival (OS) calculated from 2 different time points: date of enrolment in the trial (OS1) and date of initiation of salvage HT (OS2). Survival was estimated using Kaplan-Meier curves and a Cox regression model. Results: The OS1 differed significantly between groups (P<.0005): OS1 at 10 years was 78% in group 1, 42% in group 2, and 29% in group 3. The OS2 also differed significantly between groups (P<.0005): OS2 at 6 years was 70% in group 1, 47% in group 2, and 22% in group 3. Group 1 had the longest median time from end of RT to biochemical failure compared with groups 2 and 3 (3.3, 0.9, and 1.7 years, respectively; P<.0005). Group 1 also had the longest median PSA doubling time compared with groups 2 and 3 (9.9, 3.6, and 2.4 months, respectively; P<.0005). On multivariate analysis, timing of salvage HT, time from end of RT to biochemical failure, and PSA nadir on salvage HT were significant predictors of survival. Conclusion: Early salvage HT based on PSA≤10 ng/mL and absent distant metastases improved survival in patients with prostate cancer after failure of initial treatment with neoadjuvant HT plus RT.
 
To perform a prospective phase II study to investigate the efficacy and safety of preoperative pelvic radiation therapy and concomitant small-field boost irradiation with 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin for 5 weeks in locally advanced rectal cancer patients. Sixty-nine patients with locally advanced, nonmetastatic, mid-to-lower rectal cancer were prospectively enrolled. They had received preoperative chemoradiation therapy and total mesorectal excision. Pelvic radiation therapy of 43.2 Gy in 24 fractions plus concomitant boost radiation therapy of 7.2 Gy in 12 fractions was delivered to the pelvis and tumor bed for 5 weeks. Two cycles of 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin were administered for 3 days in the first and fifth week of radiation therapy. The pathologic response, survival outcome, and treatment toxicity were evaluated for the study endpoints. Of 69 patients, 8 (11.6%) had a pathologically complete response. Downstaging rates were 40.5% for T classification and 68.1% for N classification. At the median follow-up of 69 months, 36 patients have been followed up for more than 5 years. The 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival rates were 66.0% and 75.3%, respectively. Higher pathologic T (P = .045) and N (P = .032) classification were significant adverse prognostic factors for DFS, and high-grade histology was an adverse prognostic factor for both DFS (P = .025) and overall survival (P = .031) on the multivariate analysis. Fifteen patients (21.7%) experienced grade 3 or 4 acute toxicity, and 7 patients (10.1%) had long-term toxicity. Preoperative pelvic radiation therapy with concomitant boost irradiation with 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin for 5 weeks showed acceptable acute and long-term toxicities. However, the benefit of concomitant small-field boost irradiation for 5 weeks in rectal cancer patients was not demonstrated beyond conventional irradiation for 6 weeks in terms of tumor response and survival.
 
To compare the outcome of treatment of mediastinoscopy-verified N2 non-small-cell lung cancer treated with induction chemotherapy followed by either surgery or radiotherapy (RT), with both options followed by consolidation chemotherapy. A randomized Phase III trial for Stage IIIA (T1-T3N2M0) non-small cell lung cancer was conducted by the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group between April 1990 and April 1994. After documentation of N2 disease by mediastinoscopy or anterior mediastinotomy, patients received induction chemotherapy with cisplatin, vinblastine, and mitomycin-C. Mitomycin-C was later dropped from the induction regimen. Patients were then randomized to surgery or RT (64 Gy in 7 weeks) followed by cisplatin and vinblastine. RTOG 89-01 accrued 75 patients, of whom 73 were eligible and analyzable. Twelve patients received induction chemotherapy but were not randomized to RT or surgery thereafter. Forty-five patients were randomized to postinduction RT or surgery. Of the analyzable patients, 90% had a Karnofsky performance score of 90-100, 18% had weight loss >5%, 37% had squamous cell histologic features, and 54% had bulky N2 disease. The distribution of bulky N2 disease was uniform among the treatment arms. The incidence of Grade 4 toxicity was 56% in patients receiving mitomycin-C and 29% in those who did not. Only 1 patient in each group had acute nonhematologic toxicity greater than Grade 3 (nausea and vomiting). No acute Grade 4 radiation toxicity developed. The incidences of long-term toxicity were equivalent across the arms. Three treatment-related deaths occurred: 2 patients in the surgical arms (one late pulmonary toxicity and one pulmonary embolus), and 1 patient in the radiation arm (radiation pneumonitis). Induction chemotherapy was completed in 78% of the patients. Complete resection was performed in 73% of 26 patients undergoing thoracotomy. Consolidation chemotherapy was completed in 75% of the patients. No statistically significant difference was found among the treatment arms. The overall progression-free survival rate was 53% at 1 year and 17% at 3 years. The median progression-free survival was 14 months. No difference in the 1-year survival rate (70% vs. 66%) or median survival time (19.4 vs. 17.4 months) between the surgery and RT arms. The median survival in the patients receiving induction chemotherapy only was 8.9 months. Mitomycin-C had no impact on survival (p = 0.75). No statistically significant difference was noted in the time to local failure between the surgical and RT arms. The patient accrual to this trial made its results inconclusive, but several observations are notable. In this trial, histologic confirmation of N2 disease in the surgical and nonsurgical arms eliminated the usual biases from clinical staging. In this setting, local control and survival were essentially equal between the surgical and RT arms. The 3- and 5-year survival rates of nonsurgical therapy were comparable to published surgical trials of N2 disease.
 
In a randomized study in primarily inextirpable rectal cancer, conventional radiotherapy to reduce the tumor mass was compared with combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The combined treatment (CRT) was given every other week, four times, during a 7-week period. The drugs used were methotrexate, 5-fluorouracil in bolus injection followed by continuous infusion and leucovorin rescue. Radiotherapy (RT) was given simultaneously with five 2-Gy fractions in 3 days to a dose of 10 Gy to a total dose in the four courses of 40 Gy. This regimen was compared with radiotherapy in 2-Gy fractions to a total dose of 46 Gy in the radiotherapy group. Surgery was performed 3-4 weeks after finished treatment. Seventy patients were included between November 1988 and August 1996; 36 patients were allocated to RT and 34 to CRT. Twenty-five (74%) of the patients in the CRT group underwent a locally radical resection with 20 (59%) patients without any known metastases. The corresponding figures in the RT group were 23 (64%) and 18 (50%), respectively. Among the patients who underwent any tumor resection, 5/29 (17%) in the CRT group and 12/27 (44%, p = 0.05) in the RT group have had a local recurrence. After a locally radical resection, the corresponding figures are 4% and 35% (p = 0.02), respectively. Local disease-free survival was significantly superior in the CRT group (66% at 5 years) compared with the RT group (38%, p = 0.03 log-rank test). Five-year survival was 29% (9 patients) in the CRT group and 18% (6 patients) in the RT group, a nonsignificant difference (p = 0.3). Five patients in the RT group did not complete planned treatment, mainly due to the appearance of metastatic disease. In this group toxicity was usually of Grade 0-1. In the experimental group, the toxicity usually was Grade 2 or higher, and 6 patients did not manage to fulfill the planned treatment due to toxicity. In this study, with fewer included patients than intended, resectability rates were high in both groups. The addition of chemotherapy to radiotherapy significantly improved local control rates, but no statistically significant difference was found in survival between the groups. The acute toxicity after CRT was higher than after RT alone, but manageable.
 
This study was undertaken to analyze the practice process of thoracic radiotherapy (TRT) and evaluate changes in patterns of care for patients with limited-stage small-cell lung cancer (LS-SCLC) in Japan. The Patterns of Care Study (PCS) conducted the second nationwide survey of care process for patients with LS-SCLC treated by using TRT between 1999 and 2001. The PCS collected data for 139 patients with LS-SCLC (man-woman ratio, 5:1; median age, 69 years; age > 70 years, 43%; Karnofsky Performance Status > 70, 73%; and Stage III, 88%). Median total dose was 50 Gy. Twice-daily TRT was used in 44% of patients. Median field size was 12 x 14 cm. The most commonly used photon energy was 10 MV (77%), whereas obsolete techniques using (60)Co or X-ray energy less than 6 MV comprised 12%. Three-dimensional conformal therapy was used with 12% of patients. Computed tomography simulation was performed in 40% of cases. Only 12 patients (8.6%) received prophylactic cranial irradiation (PCI). Concurrent chemotherapy and TRT (CCRT) was used for 94 patients (68%). Only 6 patients (4.4%) entered clinical trials. Compared with the previous PCS 95-97, significant increases in the use of CCRT (34-68%; p < 0.0001), twice-daily TRT (15-44%; p < 0.0001), and PCI (1.7-8.6%; p =0.0045) were observed, although the absolute number of patients receiving PCI was still extremely low. Evidence-based CCRT and twice-daily TRT has penetrated into clinical practice. However, PCI is not yet widely accepted in Japan.
 
Purpose: A prospective phase 2 multicenter trial was performed to investigate the efficacy and safety of preoperative short-course concurrent chemoradiation therapy (CRT) followed by delayed surgery for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. Methods and materials: Seventy-three patients with cT3-4 rectal cancer were enrolled. Radiation therapy of 25 Gy in 5 fractions was delivered over 5 consecutive days using helical tomotherapy. Concurrent chemotherapy was administered on the same 5 days with intravenous bolus injection of 5-fluorouracil (400 mg/m(2)/day) and leucovorin (20 mg/m(2)/day). After 4 to 8 weeks, total mesorectal excision was performed. The primary endpoint was the pathologic downstaging (ypStage 0-I) rate, and secondary endpoints included tumor regression grade, tumor volume reduction rate, and toxicity. Results: Seventy-one patients completed the planned preoperative CRT and surgery. Downstaging occurred in 20 (28.2%) patients, including 1 (1.4%) with a pathologic complete response. Favorable tumor regression (grade 4-3) was observed in 4 (5.6%) patients, and the mean tumor volume reduction rate was 62.5 ± 21.3%. Severe (grade ≥3) treatment toxicities were reported in 27 (38%) patients from CRT until 3 months after surgery. Conclusions: Preoperative short-course concurrent CRT followed by delayed surgery for patients with locally advanced rectal cancer demonstrated poor pathologic responses compared with conventional long-course CRT, and it yielded considerable toxicities despite the use of an advanced radiation therapy technique.
 
The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) conducted a Phase I/II study in hepatocellular cancer that closed on September 9, 1987 and some results presented previously. Here, 17 patient characteristics are evaluated to identify any of prognostic significance. Two hundred sixteen patients were entered and 198 (74% with metastases and/or previous chemotherapy) were evaluable. Treatment began with an induction regimen of external beam radiotherapy to the liver (21.0 Gy, 3.0 Gy/Fx, 10 MV photons, 4 days per week) with low-dose chemotherapy (5-Fluorouracil (FU), 500 mg, i.v.; Doxorubicin, 15 mg, i.v.) on treatment Days 1, 3, 5 and 7. In the later stages of these studies, 56 patients received external beam radiotherapy as hyperfractionated treatment (1.2 Gy twice daily, 4 hours separation, 5 days per week, 24.0 Gy total) with similar chemotherapy. One month following induction therapy, cycles of radiolabeled antibody therapy were given every 2 months. Each cycle was derived from a different species of animal and consisted of 30 mCi I-131 antiferritin, Day 0, and 20 mCi, Day 5. On Day -1, 5-FU, 500 mg, and Adriamycin, 15 mg, were administered. The overall median survival for the entire group, including previously treated patients, was 4.9 months. The median survival for alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) - patients not previously treated was 10.5 months. Median survival for all AFP - patients was 8.5 months and for all AFP + patients was 4.6 months (p = 0.006). Of the 17 pretreatment characteristics investigated for prognostic value Karnofsky Performance Score (KPS) (80-100 vs. less than 80) (p = 0.0001), presence/absence of ascites (p = 0.0002), bilirubin level (less than 1.5 vs. greater than or equal to 1.5) (p = 0.018), SGOT (less than or equal to 35 vs. greater than 35) (p = 0.001); alkaline phosphatase (less than or equal to 95 vs. greater than 95) (p = 0.008) were found to be significant independently using a multivariant regression model. The relative risk of dying for the unfavorable component of each of these characteristics was 2.2, 2.0, 1.5, 1.9 and 1.7, respectively. Good and poor prognostic groups were then defined and compared to a similar patient population (RTOG study 83-19) with confirmation of the validity of the model. When stratification for these overpowering clinical factors was incorporated, AFP status was again significant with a relative death rate 1.80 times higher for AFP+ patients. Our recommendations for structuring future prospective randomized trials are discussed and include stratification by AFP status.
 
Purpose: In reported retrospective non-randomized trials of treatment of esophageal carcinoma, blacks have a lower survival from esophageal cancer than whites. None of these studies has accounted for the extent of disease, or the methods and quality of treatment. We reviewed the data that included only patients treated on the chemoradiation arm of the RTOG-8501 esophageal carcinoma trial to see if there were differences in overall survival between black and white patients receiving the same standard of care. Methods and materials: One hundred-nineteen patients, 37 blacks and 82 whites were evaluated who met the criteria for receiving chemoradiation of 5000 cGy and four courses of Cisplatin (75 mg/m2) and Fluorouracil (1000 mg/m2 for 4 days). Results: Blacks had squamous histology only, with 86% of blacks having weight loss of 10 lbs. or more compared to 56% of whites (p = 0.001). In addition, blacks had larger tumors and more difficulty eating (p = 0.010). Overall, there was no difference in the Kaplan-Meier median survival estimate by race (p = 0.2757). Only when we limited the analysis to the "squamous histology" subgroup, stratified according to age >70 vs. <70 years (p = 0.0002), and nodal status (p = 0.0177) in a Cox regression model analysis, did race appear to be a significant factor (p = 0.0012). However, using the entire database, the age effect was found to be a "bimodal" effect, wherein the "youngest" (< age 60 years) and "oldest" patients (age > 70 years) did poorly. Because of the dramatic differences in the age and histology distributions between blacks and whites, this issue could not be resolved in the subset of squamous only who received chemoradiation. Conclusions: The increasing incidence of adenocarcinoma among white patients without a corresponding increase of this histology in blacks reflects a difference in diet and or lifestyle compared to blacks that deserves additional study. When treated aggressively with chemoradiation, race did not appear to be a statistically significant factor for overall survival.
 
To examine the long-term outcomes of a randomized trial comparing short (4 months; Arm 1) and long (8 months; Arm 2) neoadjuvant hormonal therapy before radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer. Between 1997 and 2001, 276 patients were enrolled and the data from 261 were analyzed. The stratification risk factors were prostate-specific antigen level >20 ng/mL, Gleason score≥7, and Stage T3 or more. The intermediate-risk stratum had one factor and the high-risk stratum had two or more. Staging was done from the bone scan and computed tomography findings. The primary endpoint was biochemical failure-free survival. The median follow-up was 102 months. The overall survival, biochemical failure-free survival. and prostate cancer-specific survival did not differ significantly between the two treatment arms, overall or at 5 years. The cumulative probability of overall survival at 5 years was 90% (range, 87-92%) in Arm 1 and 83% (range, 80-86%) in Arm 2. The biochemical failure-free survival rate at 5 years was 66% (range, 62-71%) in Arm 1 and 63% (range, 58-67%) in Arm 2. No statistically significant difference was found in biochemical failure-free survival between 4 months and 8 months of neoadjuvant hormonal therapy before radiotherapy for localized prostate cancer.
 
The Intergroup 0116 (INT 0116) trial demonstrated a survival benefit for a broad group of fully resected gastric cancer patients. This study examined the impact on survival of the release of this landmark trial. Patients with gastric carcinoma diagnosed between 1995 and 2004 were identified in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. Patients from the overall population as well as those potentially eligible for the INT 0116 trial were classified as having been diagnosed either before (1995-1999) or after (2000-2004) this trial. Both Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox models were used to examine survival trends within these cohorts. For the overall population of 22,982 patients, the use of radiotherapy (RT) significantly changed after the INT 0116 trial (p < 0.0001), with postoperative RT increasing from 6.5% to 13.3%. For the two periods of interest, overall survival significantly improved in recent years (p = 0.00008). A similar improvement was also seen for patients who were potentially eligible for the INT 0116 trial (p = 0.004), with 3-year survival rates improving from 32.2% to 34.5%. On both univariate and multivariate analysis, use of RT was associated with a significant survival improvement (HR, 0.65 [0.48-0.88]; p = 0.005). Use of postoperative RT for gastric cancer has significantly increased after the release of the INT 0116 trial, likely reflecting increased use of adjuvant chemoradiotherapy. This change has been associated with improved survival in gastric cancer patients, suggesting that the improved outcome seen in this trial has been successfully translated to the community.
 
The Radiation Therapy Oncolology Group (RTOG) 0116 trial was designed to test the ability of Amifostine to reduce the toxicity of combined chemotherapy with extended-field radiotherapy and brachytherapy (Part 2), after first determining the toxicity rate for the regimen without Amifostine (Part 1). This manuscript reports the results of Part 1. Eligibility included patients with cervical carcinoma and high common iliac or para-aortic metastasis. Patients received extended-field radiotherapy to 45 Gy (1.8 Gy/fraction) with intracavitary irradiation. The final point A dose was 85 Gy LDR equivalent. Use of HDR was allowed. The positive para-aortic and high common iliac nodes were boosted to 54 to 59.4 Gy. Cisplatin (40 mg/m(2)) was delivered weekly during external beam and once with brachytherapy. The primary endpoint of Part 1 was acute Grade 3/4 toxicity, excluding Grade 3 leukopenia. A total of 26 eligible patients were entered between August 1, 2000, and December 3, 2003. Of these, 21 had para-aortic metastasis (15 also had high common iliac involvement), and 5 had high common iliac involvement only. The median follow-up was 17.1 months (range, 1.8-38.6 months) for all patients and 21.7 months (range, 11.4-38.6 months) for alive patients. The acute Grade 3/4 toxicity rate, excluding Grade 3 leukopenia was 81%. Late Grade 3/4 toxicity was 40%. Eight patients underwent surgery for complications. Sixteen (62%) patients had a complete response for both local and nodal disease. The complete local response was 92%, the complete overall nodal response rate was 62% and the regional and para-aortic nodal response rates were 60% and 71% respectively. Estimated disease-free and overall survival at 18 months are 46% and 60%. Extended field and intracavitary irradiation with cisplatin for para-aortic or high common iliac metastasis from cervical cancer is associated with significant acute and late toxicity.
 
The Southwest Oncology Group/Intergroup 0116 (INT-0116) trial showed that adjuvant chemoradiotherapy improves survival in high-risk gastric adenocarcinoma patients. This study examined the adoption of adjuvant treatment following the trial results and the factors associated with its use. Between 1996 and 2003, patients aged 18-85 years with resected gastric adenocarcinoma were identified in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database and classified as diagnosed before (January 1996 to April 2000) or after (May 2000 to December 2003) presentation of the INT-0116 trial findings. Univariate and multivariable models were used to determine the factors associated with use of adjuvant radiotherapy (RT). Of 10,230 patients studied, 14.6% were given adjuvant RT before the INT-0116 trial, increasing to 30.4% afterward (p<0.001). Significant increases in adjuvant RT from before to after INT-0116 were seen in all demographic categories. Younger patients were significantly more likely to receive adjuvant RT (44.5%, 18-59 years; 31.0%, 60-74 years; and 12.6%, 75-85 years, p<0.0001). Married patients were significantly more likely to receive adjuvant RT (30.9%) than were unmarried patients (23.6%, p<0.001). A greater depth of tumor invasion, worse nodal status, and more lymph nodes assessed were associated with adjuvant RT (p<0.0001). The rate of adjuvant RT varied from 22.9-44.2% across SEER regions. On multiple logistic regression analysis, age, SEER region, marital status, assessed lymph nodes, tumor depth, and nodal status were all significant independent predictors of the use of adjuvant RT. Use of adjuvant RT doubled after the INT-0116 trial results became public; however, the fraction of patients receiving adjuvant RT is still low. Additional examination of the statistically significant and clinically relevant variability between different SEER regions, tumor characteristics, and patient demographics is warranted.
 
In preparation for a Phase III comparison of high-dose versus standard-dose radiation therapy, this Phase I/II study was initiated to establish the maximum tolerated dose of radiation therapy in the setting of concurrent chemotherapy, using three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy for non-small-cell lung cancer. Eligibility included patients with histologically proven, unresectable Stages I to III non-small-cell lung cancer. Concurrent chemotherapy consisted of paclitaxel, 50 mg/m(2), and carboplatin, AUC of 2, given weekly. The radiation dose was to be sequentially intensified by increasing the daily fraction size, starting from 75.25 Gy/35 fractions. The Phase I portion of this study accrued 17 patients from 10 institutions and was closed in January 2004. After the initial 8 patients were accrued to cohort 1, the trial closed temporarily on September 26, 2002, due to reported toxicity. Two acute treatment-related dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) were reported at the time: a case of grade 5 and grade 3 radiation pneumonitis. The protocol, therefore, was revised to de-escalate the radiation therapy dose (74 Gy/37 fractions). Patients in cohort 1 continued to develop toxicity, with 6/8 (75%) patients eventually developing grade >or=3 events. Cohort 2 accrued 9 patients. There was one DLT, a grade 3 esophagitis, in cohort 2 in the first 5 patients (1/5 patients) and no DLTs for the next 2 patients (0/2 patients). The maximum tolerated dose was determined to be 74 Gy/37 fractions (2.0 Gy per fraction) using three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy with concurrent paclitaxel and carboplatin therapy. This dose level in the Phase II portion has been well tolerated, with low rates of acute and late lung toxicities.
 
To compare whole-brain radiation therapy (WBRT) with WBRT combined with thalidomide for patients with brain metastases not amenable to resection or radiosurgery. Patients with Zubrod performance status 0-1, MRI-documented multiple (>3), large (>4 cm), or midbrain brain metastases arising from a histopathologically confirmed extracranial primary tumor, and an anticipated survival of >8 weeks were randomized to receive WBRT to a dose of 37.5 Gy in 15 fractions with or without thalidomide during and after WBRT. Prerandomization stratification used Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) Recursive Partitioning Analysis (RPA) Class and whether post-WBRT chemotherapy was planned. Endpoints included overall survival, progression-free survival, time to neurocognitive progression, the cause of death, toxicities, and quality of life. A protocol-planned interim analysis documented that the trial had an extremely low probability of ever showing a significant difference favoring the thalidomide arm given the results at the time of the analysis, and it was therefore closed on the basis of predefined statistical guidelines. Enrolled in the study were 332 patients. Of 183 accrued patients, 93 were randomized to receive WBRT alone and 90 to WBRT and thalidomide. Median survival was 3.9 months for both arms. No novel toxicities were seen, but thalidomide was not well tolerated in this population. Forty-eight percent of patients discontinued thalidomide because of side effects. Thalidomide provided no survival benefit for patients with multiple, large, or midbrain metastases when combined with WBRT; nearly half the patients discontinued thalidomide due to side effects.
 
Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) 0118 randomized patients with multiple brain metastases to whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) +/- thalidomide. This secondary analysis of 156 patients examined neurocognitive and quality of life (QOL) outcomes. Quality of life was determined with the Spitzer Quality of Life Index (SQLI). The Folstein Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE) assessed neurocognitive function. SQLI and MMSE were administered at baseline and at 2-month intervals. MMSE was scored with a threshold value associated with neurocognitive functioning (absolute cutoff level of 23) and with the use of corrections for age and educational level. Baseline SQLI predicted survival. Patients with SQLI of 7-10 vs. <7 had median survival time (MST) of 4.8 vs. 3.1 months, p = 0.05. Both arms showed steady neurocognitive declines, but SQLI scores remained stable. Higher levels of neurocognitive decline were observed with age and education-level corrections. Of patients considered baseline age/educational level neurocognitive failures, 32% died of intracranial progression. Quality of life and neuropsychological testing can be prospectively administered on a Phase III cooperative group trial. The MMSE should be evaluated with adjustments for age and educational level. Baseline SQLI is predictive of survival. Despite neurocognitive declines, QOL remained stable during treatment and follow-up. Poor neurocognitive function may predict clinical deterioration. Lack of an untreated control arm makes it difficult to determine the contribution of the respective interventions (i.e., WBRT, thalidomide) to neurocognitive decline. The RTOG has developed a trial to study the role of preventative strategies aimed at forestalling neurocognitive decline in this population.
 
To determine if high-dose melatonin for Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) Class 2 patients with brain metastases improved survival over historical controls, and to determine if the time of day melatonin was given affected its toxicity or efficacy. RTOG 0119 was a phase II randomized trial for this group of patients. RTOG RPA Class 2 patients with brain metastases were randomized to 20 mg of melatonin, given either in the morning (8-9 AM) or in the evening (8-9 PM). All patients received radiation therapy (30 Gy in 10 fractions) in the afternoon. Melatonin was continued until neurologic deterioration or death. The primary endpoint was overall survival time. Neurologic deterioration, as reflected by the Mini-Mental Status Examination, was also measured. Neither of the randomized groups had survival distributions that differed significantly from the historic controls of patients treated with whole-brain radiotherapy. The median survivals of the morning and evening melatonin treatments were 3.4 and 2.8 months, while the RTOG historical control survival was 4.1 months. High-dose melatonin did not show any beneficial effect in this group of patients.
 
To determine the outcome of neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by concurrent chemotherapy plus high-dose radiation therapy in patients with local/regional squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus. Forty-five patients with clinical Stage T1-4N0-1M0 squamous cell carcinoma were entered on a prospective single-arm study, of which 38 were eligible. Patients received 3 monthly cycles of 5-FU (1000 mg/m2/24 h x 5 days) and cisplatin (100 mg/m2 day 1; neoadjuvant segment) followed by 2 additional monthly cycles of 5-FU (1000 mg/m2/24 h x 5 days) and cisplatin (75 mg/m2 day 1) plus concurrent 6480 cGy (combined modality segment). The median follow-up in surviving patients was 59 months. For the 38 eligible patients, the primary tumor response rate was 47% complete, 8% partial, and 3% stable disease. The first site of clinical failure was 39% local/regional and 24% distant. For the total patient group, there were 6 deaths during treatment, of which 9% (4/45) were treatment related. The median survival was 20 months. Actuarial survival at 3 years was 30%, and at 5 years, 20%. This intensive neoadjuvant approach does not appear to offer a benefit compared with conventional doses and techniques of combined modality therapy. However, high dose radiation (6480 cGy) appears to be tolerable, and is being tested further in Intergroup Trial INT 0123.
 
Top-cited authors
Carlos A Perez
  • Washington University in St. Louis
Joos Lebesque
  • Netherlands Cancer Institute
Randall K Ten Haken
  • University of Michigan
Zvi Fuks
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Michael J Zelefsky
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center