Approaches to stereotactic body radiation therapy for large (≥5 centimeter) non-small cell lung cancer

Vivek Verma, Charles B. Simone II


Although larger (≥5 cm) node-negative non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) lesions are altogether uncommon, their incidence may increase following the implementation of lung cancer screening. A rigorous assessment of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for these challenging cases is imperative not only owing to concerns of increased risks when delivering ablative doses to large volumes, but also due to lack of prospective data, as these patients were excluded from seminal phase II SBRT trials. In addition to appraising the available institutional or multi-institutional experiences, multiple strategies to reduce toxicities are discussed. These include exploration of several different dose/fractionation schemes and regimens, as well as specialized techniques for SBRT treatment planning and delivery. Because these lesions have a higher rate of occult lymphatic or distant spread, the role of systemic therapies (including chemotherapy and immunotherapy) are also discussed. Altogether, the publication of several key reports, entirely over the last few years, has created a more solid foundation with which to utilize evidence-based management for this unique patient population.