Postoperative radiation therapy (PORT) may improve local tumor control in patients with incompletely resected non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) due to local progression still being the major pattern of failure, according to a recent study published in Lung Cancer.1

Researchers led by Juliane Rieber of the University Hospital Heidelberg in Germany analyzed 78 patients who had undergone POR from December 2001 to September 2014 for incompletely resected NSCLC and investigated prognostic factors for survival.

Most patients had locally advanced tumor stages, and 21 received post-operative chemotherapy. Median follow-up after radiotherapy was 17.7 months.

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At 3 years, overall survival was 34.1%, progression-free survival was 29.1%, local progression-free survival was 44.9%, and distant progression-free survival was 51.9%.

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Overall survival was significantly prolonged at lower nodal status and after dose-escalated PORT with total radiation doses. Radiation doses greater than 54 Gy significantly improved progression-free, local progression-free, and distant progression-free survival.

Upon multivariate analyses, the researchers found that lower nodal status and radiation doses greater than 54 Gy were the only independent prognostic factors for overall survival.


  1. Rieber J, Deeg A, Ullrich E, et al. Outcome and prognostic factors of postoperative radiation therapy (PORT) after incomplete resection of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) [published online ahead of print November 25, 2015]. Lung Cancer. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2015.11.014.